The Sox and Hillbilly Youk are gearing up for that magical dance that is salary arbitration. Though much of this process is shrouded in mystery, it primarily involves elaborate costumes, secret handshakes, donning of the festive Calvin Schiraldi party trousers, and the occasional punch to the face. Today’s Globe reports:

Youkilis exchanged salary figures with the Red Sox yesterday, submitting a request for a salary of $3.7 million, with the Sox countering at $2.525 million.

If the Sox are unable to reach an agreement with Youkilis or Snyder, a three-member panel of arbitrators will choose between the submissions at a hearing next month.

But this is where activity involving other first basemen appeared to tilt in Youkilis’s favor yesterday. Justin Morneau, the 2006 American League MVP who qualified for salary arbitration last season as a “super-two” but has just 75 more days of service time than Youkilis, avoided arbitration by signing a one-year deal for $7.4 million.

Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Peña, who is coming off a career year but has just one more year of service time than Youkilis, avoided arbitration by coming to terms with the Devil Rays on a three-year deal that reportedly will pay him $24.25 million.

This is awfully reminiscent of my last work review, in which I submitted my list of demands, and my company countered with a few of their own. They wouldn’t budge on my request for legalized prostitution in the area right outside my office, nor were they willing to give in to my desire to dress up as Hawkman for all important meetings with senior management (which, personally, I felt would be viewed as a showing of respect). When the dust settled, I was allowed to keep my job, but was soundly instructed to keep my pants on during normal business hours. I sure hope Youk’s agent can do better than that.