Alex Verdugo will be under the spotlight for reasons beyond his control.
MLB.com’s Will Leitch named the Boston Red Sox outfielder as the team’s “biggest addition for 2020” on Tuesday. Verdugo arrived in Boston in February as part of the blockbuster Red Sox-Dodgers trade, which sent stars Mookie Betts and David Price to the West Coast. Given Verdugo’s status as the most-high-profile player Boston received in the trade and Betts’ nominal replacement in Boston’s lineup, it only makes sense Leitch would highlight Verdugo’s importance to his new team.
“The Sox thought they were trading a full year of Mookie Betts for a guy who could be in their outfield for a half-decade to come; that it’s only two months of Betts makes the deal look a bit better,” Leitch wrote.
Verdugo hit hit .294 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 106 games last season with the Dodgers.
Had the 2020 Major League Baseball season began as scheduled, Verdugo likely would have started his debut campaign in Boston on the injured list due to a stress fracture in his back. However, the months’-long delay of the season allowed Verdugo to heal in time to fully participate in Red Sox Summer Camp and presumably compete from the outset of the 2020 season.
Verdugo already has impressed Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts with his bat. Should he carry that form into the season, Boston’s fans won’t take long to understand why Bogaerts is so excited and Leitch so intrigued.