Would the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees make a blockbuster trade involving two stars on expiring contracts this winter?
The two sides appear to be a perfect match this offseason and at least one executive believes that the storied rivalry will not impede the two sides from coming together on an agreement.
“There is speculation out there that there may actually be a match between the Red Sox and the Yankees,” former general manager Steve Phillips said on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” regarding a potential trade involving Gleyber Torres and Alex Verdugo.
“The Red Sox need to do something at second base. It’s been sort of a hole there since Dustin Pedroia (departed). And Alex Verdugo is a guy that they’re potentially looking to move in Boston. A left-handed hitting outfielder is what they are looking for in New York, so you could understand how on paper they might match up a little bit.”
Phillips explained how he never worried about how a trade would help the other side and seemed to imply that the rivalry should not be a huge roadblock here.
Both Verdugo and Torres have been at the epicenter of their team’s respective trade speculation and have had similar careers in a lot of ways.
Torres hit .273 with 55 extra-base hits including 25 home runs, 68 RBIs and a .800 OPS (118 OPS+) in 158 games last season. He has a career 115 OPS+ in six seasons. Torres would fill the Red Sox’s second base vacancy and add a much-needed right-handed slugger into the mix.
Verdugo hit .264 with 55 extra-base hits including 13 home runs, 54 RBIs and a .745 OPS (100 OPS+) in 142 games. He has as career 105 OPS+ in seven season and would add an impact left-handed bat to the Yankees outfield.
Many have assumed that Boston would have to trade more than just Verdugo to even out the deal but those reporters might be overlooking the defensive aspect of the equation.
Verdugo is a far-superior defensive player to Torres, which makes the two players almost exactly even from a trade value perspective. The former is six months older than the latter and both are only under team control through 2024.
While a Red Sox-Yankees swap would lead to a year-long comparison of the duo that would drum up constant media questions from both sides as everyone determines “who won the trade,” a deal involving both players would make their respecitive offseason plans clearer.
It’s almost a foregone conclusion that if this trade were to happen, Verdugo would hit a walk-off against the Red Sox next season. Still, the trade does have some merit, as unlikely as it might be.