Boston Red Sox Acquire Alex Verdugo and Brusdar Graterol
The Boston Red Sox have traded former American League MVP Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers as a part of a three-team blockbuster. The Dodgers got Betts and Price along with agreeing to pay half of Price’s remaining $96 million contract. The Minnesota Twins received Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers. Boston replaced the MVP with former Dodger Alex Verdugo, and the 53rd ranked prospect in baseball, Brusdar Graterol, from the Twins.
At the end of the day, this trade could have been a whole lot worse for Chaim Bloom and the Boston Red Sox. The trade also could have been a whole lot better. The Sox could have demanded a greater return from Los Angeles if they didn’t attach Price to the trade. Price’s contract severely diminished any leverage Boston could’ve had during negotiations. With that being said, Boston seems to have gotten back a hitter with All-Star potential. While Graterol is far less proven than Verdugo, there certainly is a high ceiling for the former Twin.
Verdugo was Los Angeles’ top-ranked prospect prior to the 2019 season. The outfielder has proven to have big-time potential at the plate. Last season he was “one of the best hitting prospects in baseball,” according to MLB.com. He was the seventh-ranked outfield prospect in baseball before securing his spot as a regular with the Dodgers in 2019.
Verdugo dominated AAA Oklahoma City before getting consistent at-bats with Los Angeles in 2019. Between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he slashed a combined .322/.390/.454 with 16 homers and 106 total RBI. Although the power numbers have room to improve, he seems to get better with experience. In 106 games with the Dodgers Verdugo hit .294/.342/.475 with 12 bombs and 44 RBI. The outfielder also only struck out 13.0% of the time.
This is a bat that should play well when inserted into Fenway Park as well. This gives Boston a left-handed bat in a lineup with a heavy right-handed presence. Verdugo does a nice job of using all points of the field. He hits a lot of line drives and doubles to left field, and will hopefully be able to use the Green Monster to his favor.
Verdugo’s bat receives most of the credit, but Boston should be excited for the defender that Chaim Bloom has brought in to replace Betts. His arm is noted as one of his most dangerous weapons. Although his speed won’t jump off the page, he’s handled centerfield duties for most of his young career and should be able to handle right field at Fenway. The speed of Mookie will certainly be missed, but Verdugo’s arm strength will prove to be a plus in a tough right field.
Graterol was the third-ranked prospect in the Minnesota Twins’ farm system and is ranked 53rd overall according to MLB.com. Graterol’s most noted skill at the moment is his velocity. The flame-thrower has been treated as a starter in the minors but came out of the bullpen during his short Major League stint.
The 21-year-old has a four-pitch arsenal, his most effective being a sinker that has been clocked upwards of 100 mph. His fastball sits in the upper 90s to supplement a slider and an occasional changeup.
Graterol’s stuff paired with his velocity would make him a potential candidate for a move to the bullpen; a spot that Boston needs desperate help at. The righty still has room to grow and could potentially see time in Boston as the season progresses.