Four years ago, Alex Verdugo was the centerpiece of the Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts trade. Now, the Red Sox are sending him to their biggest rival.
On Tuesday night, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported from the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville that the Red Sox are trading Verdugo to the New York Yankees for three pitching prospects – Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert, and Nicholas Judice. It’s a rare trade between the Red Sox and Yankees – the seventh in the last 50 years. This is also the first major move from new Red Sox president of baseball operations Craig Breslow.
Verdugo, 27, was acquired by the Red Sox in 2020 in the deal that sent Betts to the Dodgers. With the Red Sox dealing him, the lone piece of that trade left in Boston is catcher Connor Wong. Jeter Downs, the top prospect involved in that trade, was DFAed by the Sox last December.
In four seasons with the Red Sox Vergudo slashed .281/.338/.424 with 43 home runs and 206 RBIs in 493 games. However his production decreased each season, and he hit a career-low .264 with 13 home runs in 142 games in 2023. Verdugo’s lack of effort became an issue this past season, to the point where he was benched at one point in June.
Verdugo was viewed as a logical trade candidate coming into the offseason. On top of his declining play, Verdugo was entering his final year of arbitration and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 season.
As for the players the Red Sox got back, here’s a quick look at each…