Alex Verdugo will have something to prove to Red Sox down the stretch

Boston Red Sox v Chicago Cubs
Boston Red Sox v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

Alex Verdugo will have something to prove during the stretch run of the Red Sox season.

Entering Friday’s games, The BoSox were 56-48 and 2.5 games back of the final American League Wild Card spot. The Red Sox are preparing for both the trade deadline and a sprint to the finish line.

Such a sprint will require veteran leaders to play with consistency and grit. Given Verdugo has been in the game for a number of years and experienced a deep postseason run, he’s a prime candidate to serve as a catalyst down the stretch.

Over his last 15 games, Verdugo has hit for a lowly .143 average but has shown streakiness in the past.

The 27-year-old outfielder is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2025, so his next two seasons in Boston are far from guaranteed. Experts and analysts have suggested that the Red Sox could look to trade Verdugo sooner rather than later. If he can perform well before this season’s deadline, the front office will surely have to assess all possibilities.

All of this is worth mentioning given that Verdugo was a key part of the Red Sox ALCS run in 2021. Fans and pundits have griped that Chaim Bloom and this current Sox regime have not built a sustainable “culture.” The departure of Xander Boegeerts and other events left many feeling like the club did not have the proper continuity.

The 2004, 2007, and 2013 teams were beloved because players such as David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and others helped cultivate winning habits that translated into great on-field success.

Verdugo could be one of these kinds of players for the current Red Sox. He’s not a bonafide superstar talent, but he’s played with the sort of grit that could make him an influential clubhouse presence as he continues to mature.

Even during periods of time when the Arizona native struggles, it is clear that he attempts to bring his best at the plate and in the field.

“I know he’s struggling offensively but defensively, he’s been great for us,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora told NESN. “It’s night and day. He’s very engaged. He’s moving faster. He’s taking chances, and we’re very happy with the way he’s been playing defense.”

Alex Verdugo will have a chance to prove he’s a leader in the coming weeks.