The two biggest rivals in MLB executed a rare deal involving high-profile names on Tuesday. The Boston Red Sox will trade outfielder Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees in exchange for reliever Greg Weissert and prospects Richard Fitts and Nicholas Judice. Jeff Passan of ESPN first reported the trade and shared that it does not take the Yankees out of a potential Juan Soto deal.
BREAKING: The New York Yankees are acquiring outfielder Alex Verdugo in a trade with the Boston Red Sox for right-handeres Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert and Nicholas Judice, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 6, 2023
Red Sox Trade Verdugo to Yankees
Verdugo represents the major piece in this trade. Initially acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mookie Betts deal, Verdugo experienced some success in Boston and at times looked like a building block. However, cracks in the relationship between the player and the team, specifically with manager Alex Cora, became apparent last season.
Cora benched Verdugo twice in 2023 and publicly expressed frustration with the youngster. Verdugo was once a top prospect in the Dodgers system and will be just 27 on Opening Day. He possesses plenty of tools that the Yankees will hope he taps into next year. He projects to earn $9 million in his final season of team control.
Over the past three seasons, Verdugo has produced a .277/.334/.417 slash line with 37 homers. During that time, he struck out at a great clip (14.9 percent) coupled with an above-average 7.5 percent walk rate. Throughout his career, Verdugo has typically put up great Whiff, Chase, and Strikeout rates.
Actually like the Verdugo fit for Yankees. Let him hit down in the lineup. More HRs at Yankee Stadium. Plays with chip on his shoulders. Premium Defender, runs the bases. If Yankees pitching development process is proven? They can replace these arms.
— MLBExecutiveBurner (@HotStoveintel) December 6, 2023
While he lacks power ideal for a corner outfielder, the Yankees will hope his quality at-bats and some adjustments help him take advantage of Yankee Stadium’s right field porch.
Defensively, Verdugo has experience in all three outfield spots, but only played right field last season. Metrics indicate mixed conclusions regarding his performance, as he earned 9 Defensive Runs Saved but -1 Outs Above Average. It remains to be seen where the Yankees play him, especially since Aaron Judge is currently slotted in right field.
Players Headed to Boston
In this rare Red Sox and Yankees deal, Boston adds intriguing arms to a system that needs them.
Weissert, 29 on Opening Day, is the only player obtained by Boston with major league experience. The righty induces a lot of ground balls with an effective sinker. He also possesses a decent slider and mid-90s fastball. Despite his career 4.60 ERA in 31 1/3 innings, he should see time in Boston’s bullpen.
Greg Weissert is a reliever entering his age-29 season, who has some run in the big leagues the last two seasons.
He put up a 4.05 ERA/4.32 FIP in 20 IP with the Yankees this past season. That includes a 9.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.
Slider has some break…pic.twitter.com/PTyeQgOkq1
— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) December 6, 2023
Among the two prospects coming from the Yankees, Fitts is the most notable. Formerly New York’s 19th-ranked prospect, Fitts earned the Double-A Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors in 2023. Judice is a tall righty reliever who needs to develop his body and his pitches more.
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