It has been an underwhelming four seasons for Alex Verdugo in Boston. Verdugo is a fan-favorite who plays with one hundred percent effort, energy, and a larger-than-life personality that a team needs to be successful. According to his statistics, his performance in the batter’s box and the outfield show that they are not good enough to warrant a contract extension after he is up, after the 2024 season.
Red Sox Contract Extension for Verdugo, Not Warranted According to Statistics
In the season before he arrived in Boston (2019), Alex Verdugo looked like he may have been the best player/prospect the Dodgers were sending in exchange for fan favorite Mookie Betts. Verdugo batted .294, with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 106 games. Since leaving the City of Angels, Verdugo’s statistics for the Red Sox have been erratic.
In the COVID-19-shortened season, Verdugo had his highest batting average as a member of the Red Sox. He batted .308 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 53 games. The Sox finished last in the AL East that season. Verdugo had seven assists and four errors in the outfield for the Red Sox in those 53 games.
Verdugo improved his outfield skills immensely. He had nine assists and only four errors in 143 games. At the plate, in his first entire season with the Red Sox, Verdugo batted a respectable .289, with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs in 146 games.
Verdugo’s sophomore (technically) season in Boston saw his batting average decrease to .280. His home run total also regressed (11). Verdugo did see a reduction in assists (8) and an increase in errors (5). However, he set a career-high with 74 RBIs while playing in all but 10 of the team’s regular season games.
As of this writing, with less than one percent of the regular season left, Verdugo has played in 140 games, while his batting average is the lowest he has posted yet while in Bean Town, at .265. He also has seen his RBI numbers decrease by 20 from the prior season. He has matched his career-high in home runs. While his numbers have declined since last season, it should also be noted he has played 12 fewer games this season. With that in mind, to match last season’s career-high in RBIs, on average, Verdugo would have needed to drive in nearly two runs per game over a 12-game period. Additionally, he saw his number of errors (4) surpass his number of assists (3) for the first time in his career.
Verdugo is under contract through 2024 and has been hoping for an extension. However, despite the energy, personality, and effort he brings to the team, which are essential, it is unlikely the Red Sox will sign him to a long-term contract extension. Society, especially baseball, “loves, ” relies on data and analytics (too much in some people’s opinions), and Verdugo’s statistics do not jump off the page. Could the Red Sox sign someone as a free agent for less money who is performing at a higher level than Verdugo? Probably. Minor league players also prove to be as good or better and maybe a financially friendlier option than signing Verdugo to a long-term contract extension.
While Alex Verdugo is beloved by Red Sox fans and teammates alike, from a strictly data/analytical-driven rationale, it does not make sense to sign Verdugo to a long-term contract after it is up after the 2024 season. It would not be the first time the Red Sox parted ways with a player the Fenway Faithful loved, and it certainly will not be the last. Baseball, like almost everything nowadays, is a business first, like it or not. Some people will also argue that the expectations of Alex Verdugo were too high to begin with. That pressure may have hurt his growth and progression as a baseball player.
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