Yankees land Verdugo in 4-player trade with Red Sox

December 6th, 2023

NASHVILLE -- The Yankees’ search for a left-handed bat drew them into enemy territory, acquiring outfielder from the Red Sox on Tuesday evening in a rare swap between the historic rivals.

Verdugo, 27, heads to the Bronx in exchange for three right-handed pitchers: Richard Fitts (the Yankees’ No. 12 prospect per MLB Pipeline), Greg Weissert and Nicholas Judice.

Yankees get: OF Alex Verdugo
Red Sox get: RHP Richard Fitts, RHP Greg Weissert, RHP Nicholas Judice

“I’m really excited about it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “[Verdugo has] actually been a guy that we’ve talked about now for a while, and we were finally able to get something done there. He’s been a guy that’s done some things against us.

“He’s a really good two-way player -- defends well in the corners and obviously [has a] really good bat-to-ball [ability], left-handed. I feel like there’s an edge he plays the game with, so I’m excited about this.”

The Bombers’ move for Verdugo does not take them out of the running for a potential Juan Soto swap or Cody Bellinger signing. General manager Brian Cashman has stated that he is searching for two outfielders to join Aaron Judge, preferably left-handed hitters.

Verdugo spent the past four seasons in Boston and is coming off a 2023 campaign in which he batted .264/.324/.421 (100 OPS+) with 37 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 54 RBIs in 142 games.

Over a seven-year big league career with the Dodgers (2017-19) and Red Sox (2020-23), Verdugo has compiled a .281/.337/.428 slash line (105 OPS+) with 57 homers and 255 RBIs in 651 games.

The Yankees are hoping that Verdugo can bolster an offense that ranked 25th in the Majors in runs scored last season, struggling mightily during a two-month stretch when Judge was lost to injury.

A Gold Glove finalist who played all 140 of his games in right field last season, Verdugo has also played left field (251 games) and center field (118 games) during his career. He started 98 games in left field in 2022.

Boone said that he envisions Verdugo remaining in a corner outfield spot. Though Verdugo was disciplined by the Red Sox this past August after being late for a home game, Boone said that he has no qualms about Verdugo’s makeup.

“We hear those things from across the way. I’m not overly concerned about that,” Boone said. “The biggest thing is getting him on-ramped and welcomed and into the program. I feel like we’re going to have a really good, motivated player that hopefully becomes a key part to our team.”

Of the hurlers who the Yankees shipped to Boston, only the 28-year-old Weissert has pitched in the Majors, posting a 4.60 ERA over 29 appearances from 2022-23.

Fitts, 23, has gone 18-13 with a 3.57 ERA in 49 career Minor League starts over the past two seasons. Judice, 22, has yet to make his professional debut after being selected in the eighth round of the 2023 MLB Draft.

This represents just the eighth trade between the Yankees and Red Sox in the Divisional Era (since 1969); Cashman has often said that he felt deals with Boston were largely forbidden.

The clubs connected earlier this year on a deal in which outfielder Greg Allen went to the Yankees for right-hander Diego Hernandez and cash considerations.