Boston Red Sox trade gets worse with Alex Verdugo news

FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox speaks to the media during a press conference during a team workout on February 15, 2020 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox speaks to the media during a press conference during a team workout on February 15, 2020 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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An already bad trade is looking even worse with the news that Alex Verdugo could miss the beginning part of the Boston Red Sox season due to his back injury.

Alex Verdugo had a tall task ahead of him in the upcoming season. Whether or not it was fair, he has the unenviable task of replacing Mookie Betts on the Boston Red Sox, taking over right field from one of the best players in the game. While Verdugo is a solid all around player, he is more Nick Markakis than Betts, which already has him behind the eight ball.

On Saturday, the already unpopular trade became even worse. There had been a report on Thursday that Verdugo was dealing with a back injury which could cost him the beginning part of the season. On Saturday, Verdugo confirmed those reports, saying that he had suffered a stress fracture to his L-5 vertebra, and could miss the beginning of the 2020 campaign.

According to Verdugo, he suffered the injury while rehabbing a strained oblique in May. While he did attempt to play through the injury, he was shut down for the final two months of last season. The Red Sox were also aware of these issues, and the possibility that he could miss the start of the season, when they made the trade with the Dodgers.

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As intriguing as Verdugo may be, it is odd that the Red Sox would overlook his back issues when the original deal was nixed due to Brusdar Graterol‘s medicals. Boston had claimed that they were unaware that Graterol was more likely to be a reliever, but are perfectly fine with someone coming back from a fractured vertebra.

When Verdugo was on the diamond, he performed reasonably well. The 23 year old showed plenty of promise, posting a solid .294/.342/.475 batting line, hitting 12 homers and 22 doubles. He was also solid in the outfield, saving five runs and notching six assists as he played all three positions.

As time goes on, this deal could work out in Boston’s favor. Perhaps Verdugo turns into a star, giving the Red Sox close to what Betts would have produced. Maybe they use the savings from those salaries to upgrade the bullpen and extend their core players. Maybe this trade will not be as bad as it looks.

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However, Alex Verdugo’s tenure with the Boston Red Sox is off to an auspicious start. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come.