The New York Yankees made a splash this offseason when they traded with the Red Sox to acquire outfielder Alex Verdugo. The Yankees’ new outfielder is looking for a fresh start with New York as he aims to reinforce their batting order.
However, does Verdugo come with character questions? In the opinion of former Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, Verdugo is the exact type of player that a team should avoid.
Jonathan Papelbon rips Alex Verdugo for his work ethic
Following his trade away from the Red Sox, Verdugo has pleaded that he is looking for a “fresh start” in New York after dealing with some turmoil in Boston. Verdugo took a shot at Boston’s manager upon his arrival in the Bronx, and his comments seemed to make their way over to the city of Boston.
Former Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon ripped Verdugo a new one, criticizing the outfielder’s work ethic:
“I do know one thing, I don’t want him on my team,” “I don’t want somebody who shows up late every day, who doesn’t care, that really plays for himself. … Can that work in New York? Yeah, it can work.”Jonathan Papelbon on Alex Verdugo during an interview on “Foul Territory”
Papelbon claimed that Verdugo “more or less rode himself out of town” with his actions. Papelbon said Verdugo was frequently tardy and that it rubbed him and Red Sox players the wrong way.
“Look man, I did 30 games with NESN last year, and I’m doing pregame. And this dude would come at the same time that I showed up to the field,” Papelbon said. “In some, like, (Dodge) Charger, rev his engine up — ‘Look everybody I’m here at the park. Look at me.’ You know what I mean? You’re late. Nobody wants to play with those players. Nobody wants to play with them.”
This is not the first time that Papelbon has publicly gone after Verdugo. He took to social media in December to fire off expletives at Verdugo after taking issues with the outfielder’s comments about his time in Boston.
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Should the Yankees be concerned about Verdugo?
Despite Papelbon’s comments, the Yankees should still feel confident in their acquisition of Verdugo. The 27-year-old lefty batter totaled 13 home runs and 54 RBIs in 142 games last season. He’ll add some power to the Yankees’ offense next season, though, he might not be around for much longer.
Entering his final year of arbitration before heading into free agency in 2025, Verdugo is sure to command a lofty wage next offseason. Verdugo could be a one-and-done candidate for the Yankees as they will likely prioritize signing Juan Soto to a new contract instead.
For now, the Yankees will hope that Verdugo’s excitement to be in New York continues and that Papelbon’s evaluation of the outfielder doesn’t ring true in the New Year.