MLB free agency rumors: Terry Francona improves Indians chance at signing Kevin Youkilis

Stephen Dunn

The Cleveland Indians may be interested in Kevin Youkilis, and if so, new manager Terry Francona may be the guy to bring him in.

When the Cleveland Indians made Terry Francona their new manager, many felt that they became that much more legitimate over night. Not only does he have the experience needed to actually manage the game, he has a history in this league with a lot of players and coaches. As noted by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, some of that history might pay off, in the form of potentially signing Chicago White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis:

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.

It's not totally ironclad that the Indians are looking to sign Youkilis, but he fits the bill for what the team is looking for, to be sure. Cleveland collapsed many times this season due to its pitching, but it's expected that the team will try and work through most of it, as there's some talented players on the roster. There's still a lack of hitting to be found, and Youkills would immediately help things along.

The White Sox are likely to decline his $13-million option for 2013, but that's more due to the figure being a little crazy than them being dissatisfied with what he brings. He was a good fit in Chicago a season ago, and the team certainly seems to be on the up-swing, so who knows where Youkilis wants to end up? The only thing that's for certain is that Francona's hiring makes the Indians a player in this if they want him.

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