Alex Verdugo gets under Red Sox fans’ skin with comments on Yankees, Aaron Boone

2024 New York Yankees Spring Training
2024 New York Yankees Spring Training / New York Yankees/GettyImages

Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo is off to a great start in his young New York Yankees career.

He's slashing .243/.329/.397 with six doubles and five homers. He's made some nifty plays in left field. He's even flexed his relationship with his new skipper, Aaron Boone. On an episode of the "Baseball isn't Boring" podcast, Verdugo discussed his experiences with Boone and his prior manager, Alex Cora.

"I like Boonie a lot. He has just been one of those guys I feel like he’s going to push me but he also has my back," Verdugo said. "I can have maybe some conversations with him where if he is upset with me not doing something it can be in-house or we just get talked to a little up-close."

The statement about Boone having his players' backs, in particular, could be a dig at the Red Sox skipper. Verdugo had some tiffs with Cora during the 2023 season and their relationship seemed rocky at times. The outfielder was benched on multiple occasions for lateness or an apparent lack of hustle on the base paths.

Verdugo previously noted that some personal struggles affected his 2023 performance. His grandmother died of cancer and his mother was diagnosed with the disease soon after. If Verdugo's mental health was suffering, he absolutely deserved some grace from his manager at the time, but the nature of Verdugo's comments suggest that something bigger may have been going on behind the scenes.

Rumors circulated that the strained relationship between Cora and Verdugo contributed to the Sox's intentions to trade him. The outfielder was also entering the final year of his contract with Boston and its current outfield is stacked to the brim with lefty talent, so there could've been multiple factors that led to Verdugo's departure from the Red Sox organization.

Alex Verdugo's praise of Yankees manager Aaron Boone could also be dig at Red Sox skipper Alex Cora

The outfielder clarified that he and Cora didn't depart from each other totally on bad terms and that he still has appreciation for his former skipper.

". . . I still like AC. I don’t have anything against him. It was how it was handled with us." Verdugo said. "We started butting heads at the end of it. It happens. It’s part of it. Both of us, we’re competitors. He wanted the most out of me and he wanted the team to win so I understand where a lot of it came from."

Many of Verdugo's comments about Cora contrast perspectives from staff within the Red Sox organization. Craig Breslow and Kenley Jansen have thoroughly commended Cora for the culture inside his clubhouse and the way he runs his team.

Some of Verdugo's praise of Boone sounds disparaging towards Cora, but fans will likely never be sure if the jabs are justified or not. Nonetheless, Red Sox fans are sure that it isn't fun watching Verdugo fit right in and heap praise on the Yankees' squad.

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