Teixeira Mania continues to command the most attention, and probably rightly so, but it's easy to overlook the MVP candidate already wearing a Red Sox uniform whose contract situation is, for the moment, open-ended.
Kevin Youkilis is eligible for arbitration after his one-year contract expired, and he won't be up for free agency until after the 2010 season. The Red Sox have already signed Dustin Pedroia, the 2008 AL Most Valuable Player, to a long-term contract. So what about the man who finished third?
"We've had some what I would term early-stage conversations," said Joe Bick, the agent who represents Youkilis. "That's really where it is. To predict which way it's going to go at this point in time would be pretty tough to do."
Youkilis believes in his abilities, and he has shown he can thrive proving his value on a season-by-season basis. He signed a one-year contract last February, and then he played the best baseball of his career, adding power to his on-base proficiency to become an undoubted star.
"Kevin is perfectly content to do it one year at a time," Bick said. "There's no urgency whatsoever. If we are presented with a multi-year deal, he's fine with it either way. We're all pretty confident that Kevin is going to remain an outstanding player. He is not the kind of guy that is going to be antsy if he has to do a one-year contract."
Bick said it would be "difficult to predict" if and when a potential deal would be completed, and neither he nor the Red Sox have set any kind of timetable or deadline.
"Well, the system is in place for determining what's going to happen with Kevin from a salary standpoint," Bick said. "If we have conversations that aren't fruitful regarding a multi-year contract, we'll go to the next option. In terms of comfort, we're interested in what's right for Kevin. Regardless, I'm sure it's all going to work out."