Cherington: 'We respect Kevin' Youkilis

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox need a first baseman for 2013, and general manager Ben Cherington hasn't dismissed the idea of bringing Kevin Youkilis back to Boston.

Youkilis, who was traded to the Chicago White Sox last June, is a free agent after the White Sox declined his $13 million option. Chicago GM Rick Hahn said the team would like to have Youkilis back but not for the current asking price.

A possible return to the Red Sox is intriguing, especially now that Bobby Valentine is no longer managing the team. Youkilis and Valentine were at odds from day one until the veteran third baseman was eventually traded to Chicago in exchange for outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-handed pitcher Zach Stewart on June 24.

According to a baseball source, that possibility has not been talked about from either side.

"We're not shutting the door on talent of any kind," Cherington said during an interview on sports radio WEEI Thursday night. "When you lose 93 games you've got to be open-minded about how to put it back together. He's a guy who has done well here in the past, but it's part of an offseason landscape and we're considering all sorts of alternatives at first base and other positions. Beyond that, I really can't comment on it but we're not going to shut the door on any potential player that has a chance to make us better."

Before the trade to Chicago, Youkilis spent nine years with the Red Sox and was part of two World Series championships. He's a fan favorite and Red Sox Nation would certainly welcome him back.

"He was good player for a long time and always played hard," Cherington said. "We respect Kevin and Kevin's a free agent for the first time, so he'll have options. This is the first time in his career since he's been in college, and before that, he'll have a choice to make about where he plays.

"Guys who put in that time and have earned that right, that doesn't come along very often, so I think he's got more control of the situation than he's ever had before. We respect Kevin and the way he plays. On a personal level, certainly nothing happened that would -- there was no break in the relationship -- but he'll have choices and we'll have choices and we'll see where the offseason takes us."