Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com has floated Alex Verdugo’s name as a potential trade candidate this offseason. Verdugo, age-26, is coming off a season in which he regressed on all fronts of his game. From 2021 to 2022, Verdugo’s wRC+ dipped from 107 to 103, all of the figures in his slash decreased (.289/.351/.426 to .280/.328/.405), he lost .2 ft/s in sprint speed, and went from +1 DRS in 2021 to -4 DRS in 2022. Cotillo adds that according to a source, Red Sox brass were frustrated with his decision to bulk up in the offseason, a choice Verdugo made with the intention of hitting for more power. As evident by his decreased slugging and the fact that his weight has seemingly slowed him down on the bases and in the outfield, the choice to get bigger appears to have hindered Verdugo’s development more than it has helped him.
Speculation regarding a potential Verdugo trade comes as the Red Sox are in need of some help in the outfield. As currently constructed, Verdugo and Kiké Hernandez are Boston’s only outfield locks. Rob Refsnyder and Jarren Duran are decent depth options, but don’t provide as much thump as external options perhaps would, and a Verdugo-Hernandez-Refsnyder/Duran combo would leave Boston’s outfield lacking in offensive firepower. If the Red Sox do trade Verdugo, it would probably come after Boston goes out and gets someone on the free agent market or via trade to lock down a corner outfield spot. Verdugo could fetch the Sox a decent return, and may be flipped to improve Boston’s bullpen, which struggled in 2022. With Verdugo set for a pay raise in his second year of arbitration, it will not be entirely surprising if Chaim Bloom decides to move on from one of the centerpieces of Boston’s return from the Mookie Betts trade.
Some other news from around the AL:
- Mike Maddux is interested in rejoining the Rangers as their pitching coach, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The Rangers fired Doug Mathis and re-assigned Brendan Sagara, who had served as co-pitching coaches for 2022, less than twenty-four hours after the end of the 2023 season. Maddux previously served as Rangers pitching coach from 2009 to 2015, and recently left his post as pitching coach of the Cardinals. Grant notes that Maddux lives in the Dallas area, adding that the Rangers could pair a veteran coach, like Maddux, with someone else who is “more in tune with biomechanics and the art of pitch design” to co-lead the Rangers staff.
- Brady Williams, manager of Triple-A Durham for the Rays, will be promoted to big league staff as part of the fall out from the Royals’ managerial hiring of former Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. With Quatraro out, third base coach Rodney Linares is expected to become the new bench coach. It is unclear as to what role Williams will assume with the Rays in what will be his first opportunity to coach in the big leagues. Williams has spent his entire coaching career within the Rays organization, managing at Short-Season Hudson Valley, Single-A Bowling Green, Advanced-A Charlotte, and Double-A Montgomery, as well as Durham before getting the call to the majors.