The Yankees’ trade for Alex Verdugo has stirred the MLB trade waters as now a lefty-hitting outfielder is acquired from the Red Sox, utilizing three pitchers in the deal. While this move doesn’t rule out the pursuit of their primary target, Juan Soto, it adds an intriguing dynamic to the ongoing trade talks.
The connections between Verdugo and Soto are noteworthy:
The Red Sox and Padres discussed Verdugo during the previous season, potentially making him a piece in a Soto deal. This scenario could see Verdugo as a cost-effective replacement for the Padres, with Soto due around $33 million.
Despite the potential Padres connection, it’s more likely that Verdugo will stay with the Yankees, who have a history of interest in the outfielder. The trade involved Richard Fitts, the Yankees’ 12th-best prospect, indicating a significant effort from New York.
While Verdugo has limited recent experience in center field, the Yankees could deploy him in left field, considering him an above-average corner outfielder. If they secure Soto, a defensive alignment might involve Soto on the right, Verdugo on the left, and Aaron Judge in the center.
The Red Sox traded Verdugo not due to salary concerns but potentially influenced by manager Alex Cora’s reservations about the player’s attitude and maturity.
Both Verdugo and Soto align with the Yankees’ desire for lefty-hitting outfielders who limit strikeouts and demonstrate durability. Both players boast 600-plus plate appearances in each of the last three seasons, with Verdugo ranking 11th in the lowest strikeout percentage.
The Yankees’ strategic moves in the outfield signal their commitment to bolstering their lineup, with Verdugo’s acquisition possibly paving the way for further developments in the pursuit of Juan Soto.
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