Alex Verdugo Wants To Stay With Boston Long-Term
Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo is making it clear that he wants to stay in Boston long-term. On Monday, according to Gabrielle Starr of the Boston Herald, Verdugo approached Red Sox decision makers, including John Henry, and expressed his desire to remain in Boston for the long haul.
But does giving him that extension make sense for the Red Sox? Let’s take a look at why it does.
Still Young With Untapped Potential
Verdugo has plenty of potential left untapped, particularly when it comes to his power numbers at the plate. If he can stay healthy and continue developing as a player, he can become one of the franchise’s cornerstone players—which is why now would be an excellent time to lock him up before he gets too expensive.
It was reported that Verdugo played the start of last season with a broken toe, and as he healed in the second half, he absolutely tore the cover off the ball. This could be one move that pays off big-time a few years down the line.
Wanting To Play In Boston Is A Great Sign
Boston is a city full of sports fans with high expectations, and the pressure to meet them can be daunting for any athlete. Any player underperforming or lacking effort can quickly find themselves in the hot seat with critics and the media. For this reason, not everyone is cut out to play in this kind of market (think back to Carl Crawford).
Ultimately, you want someone who embraces the challenge and can take the heat on a daily basis. That’s why it’s a good sign Verdugo has made it clear he wants to stay with the team going forward. Knowing he is invested in staying for the long term and wants to build a winning culture is something fans can appreciate.
Those are the types of players I want on my team.
Verdugo’s Impact in the Locker Room
Verdugo has often been described as one of the more vocal leaders on this Red Sox squad, and his teammates and coaches appreciate his presence. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious and have helped create a positive atmosphere within the locker room. Just think about all the characters on the 2013 Red Sox; you need those types of guys over the course of a full 162.
Much Needed Stability
Over Chaim Bloom’s tenure as team president, the team has undergone numerous changes that have seen many faces come and go throughout the roster. Ultimately, establishing a winning culture in professional sports requires strong stability in every aspect of a franchise. When there is a commitment to consistency and overall stability, it leads to better performance both on and off the field.
Also, let’s remember that Verdugo is the only starting-caliber outfielder on the roster signed beyond this season. From a roster-building standpoint, an extension gives the front office less to worry about going forward.
What An Extension Could Look Like
A good contract comp for Verdugo could be the five-year/$75 million deal Andrew Benintendi signed with the Chicago White Sox. They are both left-handed, versatile outfielders with good bat-to-ball skills. Say they offer him four or five years between 50-75 million and lock him up through his age 32 or 33 season – I would consider that a big win.
Overall, I would very much welcome the idea of locking up Alex Verdugo for the long term. I know he’s not Mookie Betts and never will be, but that’s not what we should expect from him. At the very least he’s an above-average player on a championship-caliber team – which is absolutely worth its weight in gold.