Last Updated on November 12, 2023 at 4:01 am by Amanda Cunha
The New York Yankees are currently in the process of strategizing their outfield lineup for the 2024 season, with a primary focus on complementing their star player, Aaron Judge. Despite an injury that sidelined Judge for over a month, he managed to deliver a strong offensive performance during the previous season. However, the same cannot be said for the rest of the outfield roster.
Giancarlo Stanton, a formidable presence in the outfield, is no longer a consistent option, possibly better suited as a full-time designated hitter at the age of 33. This shift in position is evident as the official Yankees roster now categorizes him as a DH, and he spent the majority of his games last season in that role. The team’s need for a reliable outfielder alongside Judge has become increasingly apparent.
The Yankees introduced a couple of promising prospects in 2023, including Everson Pereira and Jasson Domínguez, though Domínguez’s season was marred by a need for Tommy John surgery. Additionally, there are other outfield options, such as Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Estevan Florial, but their consistency and experience are yet to be fully tested at the major league level.
Could the Boston outfielder be the missing piece in the Yankees’ roster?
Considering these factors, it’s clear that Aaron Judge would benefit from an infusion of experience and talent into the outfield ranks. The team has the option of pursuing this through free agency or trade, and a player from the Boston Red Sox stands out as a potential candidate, as suggested by Sports Illustrated.
One such player is Boston outfielder Alex Verdugo, who boasts a slash line of .264/.324/.421/.745 along with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs. His impressive performance also earned him a spot as a Gold Glove finalist in right field. What makes Verdugo even more enticing is that he is under contract with the Red Sox through 2024. This combination of offensive and defensive prowess, coupled with contractual stability, makes him an attractive trade target.
Last year, several teams expressed interest in Verdugo during the trade deadline, and with only one year remaining on his contract, the Red Sox might consider moving him under the leadership of their new chief baseball officer, Craig Breslow, who likely aims to put his stamp on the organization as they look to turn things around in 2024.
For the Yankees, acquiring Alex Verdugo presents multiple advantages. Firstly, he’s a left-handed hitter, which would bring more balance to a predominantly right-handed lineup. Second, his defensive skills are above average, as evidenced by his Gold Glove finalist status. His ideal position is in the corner outfield, aligning well with the Yankees’ needs. Finally, trading for a player like Verdugo, who is just a year away from free agency, wouldn’t hinder the team’s long-term outfield plans, which include prospects like Pereira, Domínguez, and Spencer Jones.
While the Yankees have various means to bolster their outfield, a trade for someone like Alex Verdugo, with his skill set and contract situation, warrants serious consideration. It not only strengthens their team but also potentially weakens their divisional rival, the Red Sox. Of course, this would require the Yankees to part with valuable assets, but the benefits, both short-term and long-term, could make it a worthwhile move for the organization.
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