The Boston Red Sox didn't acquire any top prospects or young stars in the trade that sent former American League MVP Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this year.
The most MLB-ready player in the deal was outfielder Alex Verdugo, who could be an important part of Boston's lineup during the shortened 60-game season.
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Verdugo hit .294 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI in 106 games for the Dodgers last season. A back injury was expected to delay his readiness for the 2020 MLB season had it begun as scheduled in late March, but with the COVID-19 pandemic delaying Opening Day to July 24, the 24-year-old outfielder is now healthy and ready to get his Red Sox career going.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is impressed with what he's seen from Verdugo so far.
“I saw him take BP yesterday,” Bogaerts told reporters Tuesday in a Zoom call, per MassLive. “He was hitting that ball pretty good, to be honest. I was watching him from the top of my suite. He came here and he was hurt and he was getting treatments, so I didn’t see a lot of him while he was with us (in spring training). Obviously, only with the Dodgers. But he seemed pretty good and obviously that’s going to be a guy that we lean heavy on. And he’s healthy. So the more guys that are healthy, the better.”
The Red Sox should still have one of the best lineups in the AL this season, even without Betts' bat.
Boston's lineup consists of some really good hitters, most notably Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers. The Sox might have to slug their way to a postseason berth given the concerns over their pitching staff, particularly the starting rotation. A healthy and productive Verdugo would be a major asset for the Red Sox as they try to get off to a fast start once the regular season begins later this month.