4 full seasons into his Crimson Sox tenure, outfielder Alex Verdugo has but to develop into the man in Boston.
As the principle piece in Boston’s return of the Mookie Betts-Los Angeles Dodgers commerce in 2020, Verdugo was most likely by no means going to fill Betts’s large footwear. Betts was a homegrown expertise, 2018 World Collection champion and American League MVP who turned beloved at Fenway Park since his debut in 2014.
Nonetheless, Verdugo has been one of many staff’s higher general gamers since being traded to New England. Nevertheless, he has not constantly carried out to the requirements set as a member of the Crimson Sox. Over 4 years, he has slashed .281/.338/.424 with 43 house runs and 206 RBIs. His protection in proper discipline has been greater than serviceable, possessing a .990 fielding proportion in 2023.
With the 27-year-old, this previous season was about greater than his statistics. He was benched twice, as soon as in June and as soon as in August. Boston’s supervisor Alex Cora sat Verdugo in early June for an absence of hustle and once more in early August for allegedly displaying as much as the ballpark late.
Verdugo spoke to The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey about his up-and-down 2023 season and the best way self-discipline towards him was handled.
“I don’t really feel any exhausting emotions. I don’t really feel dangerous about it,” Verdugo stated. “I feel for me there have been sure issues that might have possibly dealt with a bit bit otherwise. However on the finish of the day, I type of have been the frontrunner in a variety of classes the place I type of get aired out or I get a bit little bit of self-discipline that will get heard about.
“On the identical time I prefer to suppose I’ve thick pores and skin and it simply motivates me,” he continued. “For me, I’ve no exhausting emotions in opposition to anyone. The employees. AC. The entrance workplace. I really like all these guys. They’ve all been nice for me, handled me actually, actually good. Perhaps on occasion they’ve some robust love and are exhausting on me however it’s as a result of they actually care about me and wish the most effective for me.”
Verdugo’s second benching of 2023 was a moderately public affair and brought on a drama-filled day on the park on Aug. 5 in opposition to the Toronto Blue Jays. Cora stated postgame that “that is most likely one in every of my worst days right here on this group” when requested about his determination to take a seat Verdugo. A few hours later, MLB.com’s Ian Browne reported on Verdugo’s tardiness that day.
The seven-year MLB veteran spoke of private and household experiences that made 2023 a troublesome 12 months for him off of the diamond.
“That is undoubtedly one of many hardest years that I’ve ever had, and that’s exterior of baseball,” he stated. “I’ve had a variety of household stuff, household points happening and simply private life issues which have occurred. I’m not right here to color a tragic image. I’m not right here to learn out my sob story, however on the finish of the day, I’m nonetheless a human. I’m nonetheless an individual. When your loved ones is affected, when your loved ones’s not doing the most effective, it weighs on you.”
The outfielder continued, talking extra usually about his 12 months on the plate and the way the Crimson Sox fell wanting the playoffs for the second season in a row.
“It was an OK 12 months. I feel it was simply OK,” Verdugo stated. “The way in which I see it’s simply, the second half wasn’t the best way I needed it to go. After I go into the offseason, I’m not gonna be the happiest. I feel there’s type of two seems to the 12 months. There’s a extremely good aspect and there’s a extremely dangerous aspect. I’ll most likely be targeted extra on the struggles and the draw back of it, and simply type of use that to coach a bit bit otherwise … the best way I completed and the best way we type of completed was just a bit dangerous style within the mouth.”
Verdugo is below contract in Boston by the 2024 season. The Crimson Sox are additionally on the hunt for a brand new president of baseball operations heading into this offseason. ESPN’s Jeff Passan has Verdugo on his ‘commerce candidates’ record, he not too long ago instructed DraftKings’ ‘Baseball is Useless’ podcast.
Verdugo says he’s hopeful to stay a Crimson Sox, however on the identical time acknowledges uncertainty surrounding his future with the membership.
“Hopefully I keep right here with the Crimson Sox,” he stated. “I really like this group. I’ve made it clear to them. Clearly, getting a brand new GM we’re not too positive the place we’re going with it. I do know on the finish of the day you simply must work exhausting, play exhausting. If it’s not this staff, there are 29 different groups.”
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