Newly minted Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow candidly acknowledged to reporters at the GM Meetings today that he’s already received trade interest in outfielder Alex Verdugo (via Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe). While there’s no indication that a deal is at all close, it’s nevertheless notable to hear a baseball operations leader willingly offer up that they’ve received trade interest in a player of note.
Verdugo stands as a logical offseason trade candidate for a few reasons. Boston fielded interest in the outfielder prior to the trade deadline but ultimately didn’t receive an offer to the now-former front office regime’s liking. The 27-year-old Verdugo is also entering his final season of club control and doing so at a time when Boston is at least relatively deep in outfield alternatives. Jarren Duran, Masataka Yoshida, Wilyer Abreu and top prospect Ceddanne Rafaela are all options to start in the outfield. Given the light free-agent market for hitters, Verdugo could hold some extra appeal to teams looking for bats. he turned in a solid .264/.324/.421 batting line this past season and is a .281/.338/.424 hitter in four seasons with the Sox.
While Verdugo was open about his desire to sign an extension with Boston over the summer, no deal materialized. To the contrary, his name actually surfaced in trade rumblings about a month later. While a swap didn’t come together, the juxtaposition was still notable. Verdugo also appeared to clash with skipper Alex Cora, to an extent, on multiple occasions; he was benched both in May and in August — first for not running out a grounder and secondly for a late arrival to the park.
Verdugo told The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey in October that he had no hard feelings, hoped to remain in Boston, and attributed some of those mental lapses to dealing with family and personal issues away from the field. “I’m not here to read out my sob story, but at the end of the day, I am still a human,” he said at the time. “I’m still a person. When your family is affected, when your family’s not doing the best, it weighs on you.”
The 2023 season was an uneven one for Verdugo, who hit at an All-Star level for four months but endured woeful slumps in July (.151/.232/.247) and September (.178/.208/.301). The rest of his season was strong enough — June in particular — that he still finished out the year with roughly league-average offensive output, but it was still the least-productive full…