The "Year of the Dugie" that was touted by Boston Red Sox fans in 2023 is no more. Now they can't stand this guy. Because that's life as a Red Sox fan. Fickle. No conviction whatsoever. Teflon, but not the good kind -- the kind that deflects and denies until delusion is achieved.
Alex Verdugo was traded to the New York Yankees during the Winter Meetings in a rare deal between the two rivals -- though the lines of commerce have opened over the last few years. We can probably expect more now that the fear of boosting the other hated side has seemingly dissipated.
Yankees fans did not receive this transaction positively. Verdugo was despised as a Red Sox. He killed New York on multiple occasions. He's not exactly emblematic of the "character" the Yankees look to fill their clubhouse with.
But guess what? He's here. And fans have to accept it until at least the trade deadline. Verdugo spoke to the media in an introductory Zoom presser on Thursday night that was buried amidst the Yoshinobu Yamamoto hoopla, but that didn't stop Red Sox fans from making this the biggest story of the day.
Verdugo ended up calling out his former team in a multitude of ways, and, objectively, all of them were ... valid?
Alex Verdugo calling out Red Sox in Yankees presser is as low as it gets for Boston
First, he said how he was angry that he was blindsided by Boston with a trade to their most hated rival. Understandable! Didn't you feel for Adam Ottavino when the same thing happened to him? Not fun!
Then Verdugo acquiesced to the trade because a number of the Yankees' most influential players reached out to welcome him. Very nice. OK, easy enough.
But then he talked about how 2022 and 2023 were wildly disappointing in Boston. And he's not wrong. The Red Sox, though they "spent" money, didn't do enough to prop up a roster that made it to the ALCS in 2021. Instead, they looked to save money and made only the safest most necessary upgrades/re-signings, with mostly questionable transactions summing up the Chaim Bloom era.
But best of all? Verdugo called out manager Alex Cora, perhaps the most hated member of the Red Sox of the last decade. Reports have suggested these two didn't have the greatest relationship, which was most evident when Cora called out Verdugo at the end of the 2022 season for not taking the next step in his development.
Then 2023 came and it was more of the same. Verdugo was fine, but didn't become that cornerstone player the Red Sox unfairly expected him to be following the Mookie Betts trade. He was benched for immaturity issues. Cora probably wasn't wrong for what he felt was holding Verdugo back, but he also wasn't exactly supportive or effective in his practices, if we were to judge both how the Red Sox performed overall since 2019 and Verdugo's comments after he finally got out.
Yes, we hate the Red Sox, but even a pedestrian fan would call this the lowest possible point for Boston since the conclusion of the 2018 season. The Betts trade was the beginning. Verdugo was the centerpiece of that, and now he's gone. On his way out, he made sure to let everybody know that his time there was relatively unpleasant, his manager was combative, and the organization didn't necessarily prioritize winning.
For all the problems the Yankees have -- and hell, they've been embarrassing for quite a while -- nothing really compares to this.