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.

Chaim Bloom estimates when Chris Sale could return from Tommy John surgery

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File Photo

Chaim Bloom estimates when Chris Sale could return from Tommy John surgery

Chris Sale turned 31 on Monday. He also had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow on that same day. The procedure will sideline him for at least the rest of the 2020 season and beyond. 

But when exactly can we expect Sale back? Boston Red Sox chief of baseball operations, Chaim Bloom, wouldn't confirm to an exact date, but he did provide some insight into how long Sale might be sidelined.

"We don't know exactly," Bloom said, per Christopher Smith of MassLive.com. "Typically you see around that 14-15 month range."

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Okay, so maybe that's not the most specific answer, but it at least gives us a ballpark idea of when Sale could return.

A 14-15 month recovery period would have Sale return sometime between early June and early July in 2021, if his recovery goes well. Of course, there are so many variables to take into account about how Sale may be progressing but also about how the Sox may be faring. If they aren't doing well, the team could take an extremely cautious approach with Sale in hopes of having him fully healthy for the 2022 season.

But Bloom's estimate at least gives Sox fans an initial target for Sale's potential return. The target date will certainly be fluid especially considering that some pitchers take 18 months to return from the surgery.

But no matter what, Sale won't be suiting up for the Red Sox until mid-2021 at the earliest. And that's bad news for the squad considering their lack of starting pitching depth.

Red Sox ace Chris Sale officially undergoes Tommy John surgery

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Red Sox ace Chris Sale officially undergoes Tommy John surgery

Chris Sale's long road to recovery from a pesky elbow injury began on Monday.

The Boston Red Sox officially announced that Sale underwent Tommy John surgery on Monday to reconstruct the UCL in his throwing arm. Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery.

The Red Sox and Sale decided that he would need to have the surgery about a week and a half ago. The coronavirus crisis made it a bit uncertain as to when Sale would be able to have the procedure done, but now, it is in the books.

Sale won't pitch at all in 2020 and it's likely that he will miss time in 2021 as well. In fact, he could miss that whole season given that a typical recovery from Tommy John surgery takes about 18 months.

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Either way, the Red Sox will be without Sale long-term and as a result, their starting rotation looks very thin. Eduardo Rodgriguez will slot in as the team's ace while Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez are the Nos. 2 and 3 starters respectively.

The other two rotation spots are up for grabs but before the league was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was assumed that Ryan Weber had the inside track for the fourth starter position. The fifth starter role was much less settled and the team may have used an opener strategy given their lack of starting pitching depth.

Without Sale, the Red Sox will likely have to rely a lot on their offense to carry them to victory moving forward. But we won't get a chance to see how they look until the MLB returns. And at this point in time, it's unclear when that may be.