In a rare and surprising move, the New York Yankees have reached an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to acquire outfielder Alex Verdugo.
The move is aimed at bolstering the Yankees offensive lineup.
In return, the Bombers will send three pitchers to the rival Red Sox.
The Yankees have acquired Alex Verdugo in exchange for Greg Weissert and RHP prospects Richard Fitts and Nicholas Judice pic.twitter.com/XWinKGO442
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) December 6, 2023
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Boston will receive right-handers Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert, and Nicholas Judice in exchange for Verdugo.
The 27-year-old outfielder is entering the final year of his team control and is set to become a free agent next winter unless a contract extension is negotiated.
The last piece of the Red Sox return for Alex Verdugo is RHP Nicholas Judice.
6’8 relief arm that was drafted in the 8th round this year. Has added weight dating back to college with his stuff continuing to tick up.
Currently sits in the mid to low 90s.pic.twitter.com/I9aSYzyLfo
— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) December 6, 2023
Verdugo, who joined the Red Sox as part of the Mookie Betts trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers, has had a productive tenure in Boston.
Over four seasons, he posted a slash line of .281/.338/.424 with a 105 OPS+.
However, his time with the Red Sox was not without controversy, as he found himself benched in August for showing up late to a game, sparking tension with manager Alex Cora.
Now shave that damn beard. 😂
— All Rise (@btsportsfan) December 6, 2023
“The Yankees had been seeking offensive help after ranking 25th in runs scored last season,” Passan reported.
The team had been linked to notable left-handed hitters in the free-agent and trade markets, such as Juan Soto and Cody Bellinger.
Despite Verdugo’s acquisition, it remains uncertain whether the Yankees will pursue other offensive bats. However, Jon Heyman of the New York Post suggested that both Soto and Bellinger remain in play.
Even after acquiring Verdugo, the Yankees continue to push to add Soto. I do wonder if they’re going to end up having to include King and Thorpe in the deal. Tune to YES at 10. We will discuss all the latest news.
— JackCurryYES (@JackCurryYES) December 6, 2023
As part of the deal, the Red Sox are acquiring three pitchers with varying levels of experience.
Richard Fitts, a 23-year-old former sixth-round pick from Auburn, demonstrated promise with a 3.48 ERA and a 3.79 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 Double-A starts this season.
Greg Weissert, 28, brings big-league experience, having appeared in 29 games over the last two seasons with a 4.60 ERA and a 2.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31 innings.
Nicholas Judice, a 22-year-old eighth-round pick from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, is yet to make his professional debut.
Interestingly, the trade marks a rare occurrence of the Yankees and Red Sox engaging in significant player swaps.
The last trade between the two bitter rivals took place in 2021 when the Yankees acquired Adam Ottavino. Before that, a deal in 2014 saw Stephen Drew and Kelly Johnson switch teams.
The Verdugo trade now stands as just the seventh between the two franchises in the last 50 years.
What are your thoughts on the trade?
Looking at the big picture, what do both teams need to do this offseason???