Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo underwent a series of struggles throughout the 2023 season, both on and off the field.

Verdugo entered the season looking to take a leap forward, and at the start, that proved to be the case. Verdugo was a doubles machine, racking up 26 with a 2.1 fWAR before the All-Star break. So the improvements already were in place. But as the season rolled on, Verdugo began to cool off and the Boston slipped out of contention, playing meaningless baseball throughout the final month-plus before suffering a second-straight last-place division finish.

“This is definitely one of the hardest years that I’ve ever had, and that’s outside of baseball,” Verdugo said, per Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic. “I’ve had a lot of family stuff, family issues going on and just personal life things that have happened. I’m not here to read out my sob story, but at the end of the day, I am still a human. I’m still a person. When your family is affected, when your family’s not doing the best, it weighs on you. But at the same time, I’m a professional. I’ve gotta go out there and handle our job and do what we have to do. My mind has been in a lot of different places.”

Getting 95 at-bats in June, Verdugo complied a slashline of .316/.377/.484, recording 30 hits in 23 games. Then during the following month in July, those numbers dipped and Verdugo batted just .151 while also struggling to hit for power and manage outside manners.

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On two occasions, Red Sox manager Alex Cora benched Verdugo with the second being the most notable. Cora suggested Verdugo wasn’t prepared without offering any further details, promoting the abrupt pregame lineup scratch, making for what Cora called one of the “worst” days he’s experienced since joining Boston in 2018.

Playing in 142 games, Verdugo hit .264 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs as Boston’s everyday right fielder. That wasn’t enough to reach that leap Verdugo and the Red Sox envisioned before the season, leaving yet again, room for improvement and strides heading into 2024.

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