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Kevin Youkilis rumors: Cleveland Indians could have leverage over White Sox

New Indians manager Terry Francona may give his squad a leg up in the Kevin Youkilis sweepstakes.

Stephen Dunn

With former Red Sox manager Terry Francona now at the helm, the Cleveland Indians could have some leverage over the Chicago White Sox in signing third baseman Kevin Youkilis, speculates Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:

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 take the $1 million buyout on the 33-year-old Youkilis' $13 million club option for 2013, but the team has expressed interest in retaining the third baseman on a smaller contract. Heyman believes that the arrival of Youkilis' former manager to the division could complicate matters for the White Sox because the pair had a very close relationship in Boston.

Youkilis had a down year by his standards in 2012, but was still a massive mid-season upgrade for the White Sox. After a disappointing first two months in Boston, Youk finished the season by hitting .236/.346/.425 with fifteen home runs in eighty games for Chicago.