Could Francona give Indians shot to steal Youkilis from ChiSox?

The White Sox would like to re-sign third baseman Kevin Youkilis. But some see the rival Indians, who've hired his friend Terry Francona to manage, as a potential threat to try to sign Youkilis now.

The Indians' interest is mostly in the speculative stage, but it makes sense. The Indians could use hitters, and especially righthanded ones.

The White Sox are expected to decline Youkilis' $13-million option for 2013 (and instead buy him out for $1 million), but they loved Youkilis' contributions and especially his fit in their clubhouse. They would very much like him back.

Youkilis hit .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBI, so he'll have to take a cut in annual pay following his worst year in the majors. He did hit much better once he got to Chicago. He posted a .771 OPS for the South Side team after being at .692 with the Red Sox.

Other teams could have interest , as well, including the Phillies, who will seek a third baseman. Francona and Youkilis always had a very close relationship, so that could give them one edge. But Youkilis' few-month stay in Chicago worked out nicely, so perhaps they are still favored to keep him.

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