Red Sox

What we know about new Red Sox Alex Verdugo and Brusdar Graterol, acquired in Mookie Betts deal

What we know about new Red Sox Alex Verdugo and Brusdar Graterol, acquired in Mookie Betts deal

The Boston Red Sox acquired Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Alex Verdugo and Minnesota Twins prospect Brusdar Graterol in a three team trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers.

But who are Verdugo and Graterol? And what can they bring to the Red Sox who just gave up so much in Betts and Price?

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Verdugo was drafted by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft and spent a majority of last season (106 games) in at the MLB level with after shorter stints with the big-league club in both 2017 and 2018. In 2019, Verdugo hit .294 with 12 home runs, 44 RBIs and an .817 OPS with LA. Through six seasons in the minors (two in Triple-A) the 23-year-old batted .309 with 41 home runs, 271 RBIs and an .811 OPS.

Verdugo has strong contact skills with a 13 percent strikeout rate and has some solid power, according to Ian Cundall of SoxProspects.com, and is a solid defender who can play anywhere in the outfield.

The left-handed batter hadn't resumed baseball activity as of Jan. 31 due to a back/core injury and his status for Opening Day with the Dodgers was unknown. Although his injury was initially believed to be minor, it became something significantly more, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. And there's no guarantee he'll be ready for Opening Day.

Verdugo is being compared to Andrew Benintendi, but a "better" version of the Red Sox outfielder. At just 23 years old, he's got plenty of promise but will he be a replacement for the star caliber player that Betts was? Probably not.

So, who is Graterol exactly?

Many had never heard of the Twins prospect until he was announced in the Betts trade -- but he was one of their most highly regarded prospects headed into the 2020 season.

Graterol, the No. 83 overall prospect in baseball, is a right-handed pitcher who made appearances in 10 games for the Twins last season going 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA through 9 2/3 innings pitched. The 21-year-old recorded 10 strikeouts, two walks and a 1.24 WHIP through his short stint in the majors.

Although his MLB sample size is rather small, he's shown very promising stuff in the minors. Through four seasons in Minnesota's minor league system, Graterol went 19-6 with a 2.65 ERA, 230 strikeouts and a 1.07 WHIP through 214 innings pitched.

Graterol, according to John Shipley of the Pioneer Press, was the "hardest-throwing" prospect in the Twins' system and was considered their "top arm." The right-hander also set the Twins franchise velocity record with pitches of 101.2 and 101.9 mph against the Cleveland Indians back in September, according to Shipley. He also pitched one scoreless inning against the New York Yankees in the ALDS, striking out two batters.

Only time will tell how Verdugo and Graterol will perform in the Red Sox system.

MLB Rumors: Yasiel Puig to sign with 2020 Red Sox opponent Braves

MLB Rumors: Yasiel Puig to sign with 2020 Red Sox opponent Braves

The Boston Red Sox aren't acquiring Yasiel Puig, but they'll still see him in 2020.

The free-agent outfielder is signing with the Atlanta Braves, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Tuesday. Puig's deal with the Braves is still tentative pending a physical, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

The Red Sox reportedly were among a few teams interested in signing Puig, who split the 2019 season between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians.

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The Baltimore Orioles reportedly made Puig a contract offer, but it appears the 29-year-old is headed to Atlanta, where he'll play two three-game series -- from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 and from Sept. 25 to 27 -- against the Red Sox during the shortened 2020 MLB season.

While Puig's career with the Los Angeles Dodgers got off to a promising start, the Cuba native has struggled to sustain that success, hitting no better than .267 over the last five seasons. Puig hit .297 with 23 RBIs in 49 games with Cleveland, though, and perhaps he'll benefit from another change in scenery.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, are rolling with an outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Alex Verdugo and platoon man Kevin Pillar after trading star right fielder Mookie Betts this offseason.

2020 MLB Season: Five newcomers who could make an impact for Red Sox

2020 MLB Season: Five newcomers who could make an impact for Red Sox

The Red Sox weren't good enough in 2019 to make the playoffs, so it stands to reason that if they're going to find a way over the hump in this dine-and-dash 2020 campaign, some new faces will have to deliver.

Because chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was only able to spend what he could scrounge from Dave Dombrowski's old couch this winter, the Red Sox did most of their tinkering on the fringes of the roster.

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They added one potential impact piece in outfielder Alex Verdugo, albeit at the steep cost of former MVP Mookie Betts. Otherwise, they're seeking contributions from a host of under-the-radar sources.

Perhaps we'll be pleasantly surprised. Here are five newcomers to watch.

1. Alex Verdugo

We wrote about the new right fielder on Monday, and he's the closest thing to an All-Star the Red Sox added. Verdugo does a little bit of everything from the left side, hitting for average, developing power, and not fearing the moment. He owns one of the strongest arms in the game and could be a plus defender as well.

Andrew Benintendi has already been penciled into the leadoff spot, which leaves Verdugo batting fifth in all likelihood. But if Benintendi falters, as he did last year, Verdugo could easily end up hitting in front of No. 2 man Rafael Devers and trying to make the offense go.

2. Jose Peraza

There's a reason Peraza was one of Bloom's first moves, signed back on Dec. 13. The 26-year-old Venezuelan is a former top prospect who was non-tendered by the Reds after hitting .239 in 141 games last year.

He once ranked as high as 54th in Baseball America's list of the game's top 100 prospects, however, and he's only two years removed from hitting .288 with a career-high 14 homers. Peraza is in a battle with Michael Chavis for the starting second base job, and if Peraza has an edge, it's his glove. While Chavis was drafted as a third baseman and profiles as more of a corner infielder, Peraza has spent his entire career at second and short.

He's considered an above-average defender at second, and his speed plays as well, with three straight 20-steal seasons before sliding back to seven thefts last year.

3. Martin Perez

This one could go either way. Perez's ceiling is as a league-average left-hander, which certainly has value. The problem is, he hasn't reached that ceiling in three years. He's the best candidate to replace what Rick Porcello gave the Red Sox last year, which is 175 innings (prorated, of course) of a 5.00 ERA.

That may not sound like much, but on a team desperate for pitching, there's a value in taking the ball every five days and lasting six innings.

The Red Sox hope they can tinker with Perez by rediscovering the cutter that made him so effective last spring before abandoning him for most of the summer. In a perfect world, he wouldn't be the team's third starter, but these are far from perfect times.

4. Jonathan Lucroy

Red Sox history is littered with veteran reclamation projects who never really went anywhere after some early promise, from Ramon Martinez to John Smoltz to Grady Sizemore. Lucroy represents the latest attempt at reclaiming some past magic.

A two-time All-Star who finished fourth in the 2014 MVP voting after blasting a league-leading 53 doubles with the Brewers, Lucroy has been savaged by neck issues over the last three years. He underwent surgery to repair a ruptured disc this winter, however, and claims to have restored his former bat speed.

If that's true, then the 34-year-old could still have something to give, whether it's at catcher, first base, or DH. It also doesn't hurt that he's a favorite of manager Ron Roenicke from their days together in Milwaukee, where they led the Brewers to the playoffs in 2011 for just the second time in 30 years.

5. Collin McHugh

Speaking of reclamation projects, McHugh might have the highest upside of any newcomer, provided he can actually make it back to action. A former 19-game winner and Cy Young contender with the Astros, McHugh is only two years removed from posting a 1.99 ERA in 58 relief appearances.

He returned to the Houston rotation last season and won three of his first four starts with a 1.96 ERA before elbow soreness took its toll. He was bounced from the rotation in May and shut it down for good at the end of August with a flexor strain.

It seems unlikely that McHugh will be ready for Opening Day as he continues throwing bullpens and side sessions, but the hope is that he's available before the end of the season.