The hot stove has reportedly caught fire for the Red Sox.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Red Sox are trading outfielder Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees in exchange for right-handed pitchers Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert, and Nicholas Judice.
It’s a rare occasion when the Red Sox and Yankees swap players given their century-long rivalry. According to Thomas Harrigan of MLB.com, Boston and New York have only agreed to seven total trades in the Divisional Era (since 1969) before Tuesday’s deal.
Verdugo, acquired by Boston from the Dodgers in 2020 as one of the key returns in the Mookie Betts blockbuster deal, played four seasons with the Red Sox. In 493 career games with Boston, Verdugo slashed .281/.338/.424 with 43 home runs, 206 RBI, and 16 stolen bases.
Once viewed as a potential building block for the next wave of Red Sox talent, Verdugo had an eventful 2023 season with Boston.
He was benched twice by manager Alex Cora in June and August. Cora sat Verdugo in early June for a lack of hustle and again in early August for allegedly showing up to the ballpark late.
Verdugo was under contract with Boston through the 2024 season, but was viewed as a potential trade chip going into this winter.
“Hopefully I stay here with the Red Sox,” Verdugo told Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic back in October. “I love this organization. I have made it clear to them. Obviously, getting a new GM we’re not too sure where we’re going with it. I do know at the end of the day you just have to work hard, play hard. If it’s not this team, there are 29 other teams.”
Verdugo won’t have to wait very long to face his former team, with the 27-year-old outfielder expected to be an everyday contributor in the Bronx in 2024.
Fitts, 23, was ranked as the Yankees’ No. 12 prospect, per MLB.com. With Double-A Somerset this past season, the righty struck out 163 and walked 43 over 152.2 innings, but did relinquish 22 home runs.
Weissert, 28, appeared in 17 games with the Yankees in 2023, posting a 4.05 ERA over 20 innings of work. He struck out 22 batters over that stretch with eight walks.
Judice, 22, is a 6-foot-8 righty who was an eighth-round pick by New York during the 2023 MLB Draft.
With Verdugo dealt, the Red Sox still have outfielders in Masataka Yoshida, Jarren Duran, Rob Refsnyder, Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela on the 40-man roster. Blue-chip prospect Roman Anthony could also make a push after advancing all the way to Double-A Portland at the end of the 2023 season.
Source: Boston Globe
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