Yankees acquire stopgap for Dominguez, fanbase remains unconvinced

Yankees sign with Alex Verdugo in trade with Red Sox.
John Allen
Wednesday December 6, 2023

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NASHVILLE — In the shadow of increased focus on the Yankees’ quest for a potential Juan Soto trade, the team has completed a trade with the Red Sox to acquire Alex Verdugo. There is a possibility that he will be a temporary solution in center field until Jasson Dominguez recovers from Tommy John surgery next summer.

At the age of 27, Alex Verdugo is heading into the last year of his arbitration period. He serves as a corner outfielder, showcasing power to the pull side and commendable bat-to-ball skills. In the 2023 season, he achieved a batting line of .264/.324/.421 while with the Red Sox, matching his career-best by hitting 13 home runs in 142 games.

The Yankees’ strategy behind Alex Verdugo signing

On Tuesday night, the Yankees acquired, with the deal involving the transfer of right-handed pitchers Greg Weissert, Richard Fitts, and Nicholas Judice to the Red Sox.

Heading into this offseason, general manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees had their sights set on securing two left-handed outfielders to address gaps in both left and center positions. Although this transaction doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Yankees pursuing a deal for Soto from the Padres—according to reports from  SNY and The Athletic, they remain actively involved in negotiations with San Diego’s standout—it does raise questions about their defensive strategy in the outfield.

Yankees sign Alex Verdugo in a trade with Red Sox.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The left-handed outfielder had demonstrated his defensive prowess in right field for the Red Sox, showcasing exceptional arm strength in the 2023 season. Given his extensive experience patrolling right field at Fenway Park, Alex Verdugo is also well-equipped to navigate the comparably expansive left field at Yankee Stadium. It’s worth noting that Soto, a left fielder who is often regarded as a subpar defender, lacks any experience in center field.

Alex Verdugo’s last stint in center field dates back to 2021, during which he posted unfavorable defensive metrics in that position. Should the Yankees successfully acquire Soto, there is a conceivable scenario where they shift Aaron Judge back to center field, although this poses a potential risk due to the toe injury he suffered during defensive play last season. Alternatively, the Yankees could explore acquiring a third outfielder, utilizing Alex Verdugo in a backup capacity. Another option is the prospect of trading Alex Verdugo as part of a package for Soto, providing the Padres with an immediate replacement for their outfield.

Yankees fanbase rejects the selection

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