Red Sox OF Alex Verdugo expects to be healthy for start of season

Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo

Whenever the MLB regular season resumes, Alex Verdugo expects to be on the field for the Boston Red Sox. The main asset in Boston’s return for superstar Mookie Betts, the 23-year-old outfielder had previously been recovering from a stress fracture in his spine. However, the league’s current hiatus has allowed Verdugo to return to full health.

“Whenever the season is, I think I’ll be ready,” Verdugo told reporters (via ESPN.com). “If they say that we’re ready to go, then I’m out there.”

Even after some revisions to the original trade, Sox fans were still underwhelmed by Chaim Bloom’s first major move as Chief Baseball Officer. Verdugo, infield prospect Jeter Downs, and catcher prospect Connor Wong appeared to be a lukewarm return for a former MVP (plus David Price), and Verdugo’s injury didn’t do anything to calm those concerns.

Back in February, it sounded like Verdugo wasn’t going to be ready for Opening Day. Instead, the outfielder has benefitted from the stoppage, and he’s recently been working out four days a week in Fort Myers.

If Verdugo is indeed ready for the revised Opening Day, it’ll certainly help a depleted Red Sox offense. The team isn’t eyeing much in terms of future pieces, so Verdugo would at least provide a glimmer of hope.

It’s not crazy to suggest that the outfielder could be a foundational piece for the organization. Verdugo appeared in 106 games for the Dodgers last season, batting .294 while compiling 12 home runs and 44 RBIs. The lefty bat could have an opportunity to build on those numbers in Fenway Park.

Regardless, the young player isn’t going to do a whole lot to swing Boston’s hopes in 2020. The team features the remnants of the disappointing 2019 squad, and that explains why the Red Sox are a distant third to win the American League East (+800 odds, trailing both the Yankees (-335) and Rays (+400)). Boston is also in the back half of World Series odds at +3500.

Meanwhile, Betts is the favorite for the National League MVP at +550 odds. For comparison’s sake, Draftkings Sportsbook is offering +15000 odds on Verdugo (Boston’s top candidate is shortstop Xander Bogaerts at +3300 odds).

In other words, there’s really no way to flip the perception of the Mookie Betts trade. If the Red Sox have any path to redemption among fans, it will start with Verdugo’s production in 2020. Today’s news should certainly help Bloom sleep a bit easier at night.

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