Boston motormouth returns to question Alex Verdugo’s work ethic

Current Yankees OF and ex-Red Sox player Alex Verdugo.

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Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon has expressed his disapproval of Alex Verdugo, particularly criticizing his recent comments and perceived work ethic.

Papelbon, who was speaking on “Foul Territory” reiterated his disdain for Alex Verdugo, who after joining the Yankees made remarks seemingly criticizing his former manager Alex Cora. According to the ex-Boston pitcher, players disrespecting their past teams and teammates goes against the unwritten rules and traditions of baseball.

Alex Verdugo was not pleased with the Red Sox

Interestingly, Alex Verdugo wasn’t initially thrilled about the trade to the Yankees. In the previous season, he faced benching under Cora for tardiness and lack of hustle. Upon joining the Yankees, he publicly praised manager Aaron Boone’s supportive approach to players, contrasting it with what he perceived as public criticisms from Cora.

The Yankees acquired Alex Verdugo in a trade from Boston on Dec 5, 2023.

Alex Verdugo has expressed a desire for a coaching style that prioritizes supporting players rather than public reprimands. He is excited about the fresh start in the Bronx and aims to change the narrative through hard work, dedication, and a genuine enjoyment of the game.

Papelbon did not hold back in expressing his strong disapproval of Alex Verdugo’s recent comments and perceived work ethic. Utilizing social media as his platform, Papelbon made it clear that he would not tolerate such behavior if Verdugo were his teammate.

Papelbon highlights Alex Verdugo’s defiance

Drawing on his personal experiences, Papelbon referred to an unnamed player he observed during his time as a NESN analyst. This player, who arrived late with a showboating entrance, exemplified qualities that Papelbon considers detrimental to team chemistry. He expanded on this point, emphasizing that tardiness coupled with a self-centered attitude is generally unwelcome in any clubhouse.

The outspoken former closer, a World Series champion with the Red Sox, also criticized Boston’s lack of leadership in the previous season. He asserted that there was a lack of authoritative figures saying “stop this,” suggesting that the team lacked vocal leadership. Papelbon insinuated that this environment played a role in Alex Verdugo’s eventual departure.

Ex-Red Sox and current Yankees outfielder Alex Verdugo is at a practice camp with his Mexico team in the 2023 WBC.

When questioned about potential intervention by the Yankees to manage Alex Verdugo’s behavior, Papelbon stood firm, stating unequivocally, “I wouldn’t want him on my team.” He further explained his disapproval of players who prioritize personal agendas over team commitment and professionalism. However, recognizing the different dynamics in New York, he conceded, “That might work in that environment.”

It’s important to note that Alex Verdugo, acquired by Boston in the Mookie Betts trade, boasts a respectable four-season record with 43 home runs and a batting average of .281. Now joining the star-studded Yankees outfield alongside Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, Trent Grisham, and Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Verdugo’s integration and impact within this elite group remain to be seen.

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