MLB insider pinpoints unsung benefit of Alex Verdugo trade as Juan Soto talks heat up

So we've got that going for us.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game One
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game One / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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The New York Yankees -- for now -- have been saddled with the Boston Red Sox problem, absorbing Alex Verdugo's bad attitude in exchange for two pitching prospects and reliever Greg Weissert on Tuesday night.

Somehow, this trade reportedly won't interfere with the ongoing Juan Soto conversations. The Yankees will, instead, simply employ two left fielders and no center fielder if they reach the finish line on Soto, in stark contrast to when they employed zero left fielders and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in 2023.

So many pieces of this swap are predicated on brain-bending logic -- chemistry, positional fit, helping Boston -- but, at the very least, agreeing to take on Verdugo's $9 million appears to have changed a potential Soto package for the better.

According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, Soto talks remain red hot, but without ancillary piece Trent Grisham, a regressing and surprisingly expensive outfielder who's hit under .200 the past two seasons.

Yankees' Alex Verdugo trade removes Trent Grisham from theoretical depth chart

Good. The Yankees didn't need any part of Grisham and the poor production his $5 million salary brought with it, which could've easily been replicated by Estevan Florial. But ... is there a dark cloud here, too? Without taking on Grisham's money, will the Yankees be forced to surrender even more talent for Soto? Is that why Jack Curry believed, late Tuesday, that both Michael King and Drew Thorpe might be involved in getting a deal past the finish line?

More excellent negotiating from Brian Cashman there, too. Typically, you make two players untouchable so you can meet in the middle and deal one of them, not both.

The further away the Yankees are able to steer from San Diego's initial leaked "7-for-2" demands, the better, especially since one of the two was an undesirable piece. The exclusion of the (admittedly dazzling defensively) Grisham is just a small silver lining, though, after the Yankees performed surgery on the Red Sox fractured clubhouse and chose to take on the pain themselves.

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