|Kevin Youkilis made $3 million in '08 and was third in MVP voting. (file/Jim Davis/Globe Staff)|
First baseman Kevin Youkilis and the Red Sox will not reach a long-term contract agreement this offseason, said Joe Bick, Youkilis's agent. Youkilis and the team have discussed a deal but the sides currently stand too far apart for one to be finished before the 2009 season.
"It doesn't look promising," said Bick.
Youkilis now will decide between arbitration and signing a one-year contract. He has slightly more than four years of major league service, meaning he will be under the Red Sox' control and not eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season. He is eligible for arbitration until then, and he and the Red Sox can try again next season to strike a long-term deal.
Last offseason, Youkilis avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $3 million contract. It seemed possible the Red Sox would sign him to a longer deal this offseason, especially after second baseman Dustin Pedroia, the 2008 American League Most Valuable Player, signed a six-year contract worth $40.5 million last month.
"We're going to concentrate our efforts from this point forward on getting a one-year deal done, whether it's negotiated or otherwise," Bick said. "That's where we stand."
In other Youkilis news, he has accepted an offer to play for the United States in the World Baseball Classic. Last Thursday, during a visit with children at the Guidance Center Inc. at Lesley University in Cambridge, Youkilis expressed his desire to play in the event.
"For me, it'd be cool to represent my country," Youkilis said. "If they ask me, yeah. Yeah, definitely. I'll play. Cool experience. I've done a lot of great things, and that could be an added thing to put on the plate."
Youkilis established himself as one of the league's best players last season, carrying the Red Sox offense for long spells and finishing third in the MVP vote. He hit .312 and led the Red Sox with 115 RBIs and 29 home runs.
The Red Sox missed out Tuesday on a potential long-term solution at first base when free agent Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees. Had the Red Sox signed Teixeira, Youkilis said last week, he would have been open to moving across the diamond to third base.
The Red Sox have another long-term option at first base in highly regarded minor league first baseman Lars Anderson. Though Anderson likely will not be ready for the majors for at least two seasons, the Sox feel he eventually may be an elite player.
For his part, Youkilis has been largely ambivalent about his contract status.
"I leave it up to Joe with all that stuff," Youkilis said last Thursday. "Both sides come up with offers and try to broker it all out, do all that stuff. They're working on that, and for me, I'm up here in a Boston Red Sox uniform unless I get traded. For me, I don't worry about it. I just know that I have two more years here, unless I get traded.
"It has to be the right fit for myself, and it's got to be the right fit for the Red Sox, too. It works both ways."
The Yankees signed former Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash to a minor league contract Tuesday night, the New York Post reported. Cash, a career .184 hitter, served as the Red Sox' backup last season and the personal catcher for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. The Red Sox non-tendered Cash's contract Dec. 12. They currently have no catchers with substantial major league experience on their 40-man roster.