Price for Red Sox to extend Alex Verdugo is Verdu-going up

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox / Nick Grace/GettyImages
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Alex Verdugo has delivered for Red Sox this season

Verdugo accepted his manager's challenge and arrived at spring training noticeably trimmer and in better shape. Cora was quick to notice the difference telling reporters, "He changed a few things: his routines, his nutrition, all that. He can feel it now, swing-wise. He’s moving well”.

Verdugo's offseason work has translated onto the field as well. He has delivered his best season to date for the Red Sox. Entering the rubber match with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night, Verdugo is batting .303 with .869 OPS and five home runs. He has spent the majority of the season leading off and has regularly sparked the lineup. Verdugo seems more agile covering the spacious right field of Fenway Park as well. He is second on the team with bWAR of 1.8.

Beyond these traditional statistics, Verdugo has shown that the new LED lights of Fenway Park are not too bright for him. He has a flair for the dramatics and producing during the game's biggest moments. He has delivered three walk-off wins for the Red Sox this season giving him a total of eight for his career. Red Sox fans can half-jokingly jab Yankees fans that Verdugo has now surpassed Derek Jeter's career total.

In addition to his on-the-field performance, Verdugo has also taken a leadership role with this team. With the team on a rough patch losing four straight games, Rob Bradford of WEEI reported that Verdugo called a players-only meeting before Tuesday night's game against the Seattle Mariners. Verdugo told Bradford that one of the messages of the meeting was, "Win or lose, boys, let’s go out and bring the energy". Verdugo heeded his own advice during his first at-bat by hustling to first and reaching on a bobble from the Mariners infielder, Kolten Wong. Verdugo would later score after a triple from Masataka Yoshida.

Verdugo's teammates noticed his leadership. Rob Refnsyder told Rob Bradford of WEEI, “I just know from my perspective, it’s cool to see Alex taking on that leadership role. I think he has done a great job, especially leading off. He busted his ass going down to first base and set the tone really early. It was great. From my perspective, it was great seeing Verdugo take that next step as a leader”.