Yankees’ new outfield acquisition clears the air on beef with former manager

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox rarely strike a trade, and yet Alex Verdugo found himself in pinstripes early into the offseason in a stunning trade. Reports of interest in the left-handed hitting outfielder were real, but the asking price of Gleyber Torres or Clarke Schmidt made it hard to envision the two sides coming together on a deal. It wasn’t surprising however to see Verdugo out of Boston, and that’s because the relationship between him and Red Sox manager Alex Cora had seemingly become unmanageable.

In a media availability session earlier today, Alex Verdugo tried to clear the air between him and Cora, and while we’ll never know his true feelings behind the scenes, it seems that the beef will be put to bed (for now).

Alex Verdugo Puts Past Behind Him After Trade to Yankees

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Feb 20, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Alex Verdugo (24) waits for his turn to run at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Make no mistake, Alex Verdugo didn’t seem to immediately let go of the fallout with Alex Cora, and he made some headlines in his first press conference with the Yankees. The two clashed heads throughout the season last year, as Verdugo was benched in Cleveland for a lack of hustle on a play and was benched before a game as he showed up late to the ballpark. Whether Cora and Verdugo had a good relationship or not, neither blunder would result in a player getting into the good graces of their manager.

Things began when Alex Cora challenged the 27-year-old outfielder to be more athletic and defensively sound before the 2023 season. It seemed that it would work, as Alex Verdugo had a strong start to the 2023 season and was seriously considered for a spot in the All-Star Game, but would fail to make it in a stacked outfield. Whether that bothered him or not, the production at the plate fell off of a cliff, and the clashes between player and manager got worse. In that first presser with the Yankees, he seemed to throw a jab at Alex Cora.

“I’m very, very excited to work with Aaron…I’ve seen the way he has his players’ backs. The one that really stands out to me is when he’s like ‘These guys are savages’ and he’s yelling at the umpire. I mean, that’s something I want to see out of my head coach, man. I want to see some fire, some fight for the guys. I think just instead of airing people out, have their backs.”

Alex Verdugo

READ MORE: Yankees’ new outfielder Alex Verdugo takes low-key shot at Red Sox manager

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays, alex verduog, yankees
Sep 15, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox right fielder Alex Verdugo (99) reacts to being called out during the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

He seemed to walk some of those comments back earlier today, mentioning that he loved Alex Cora outside of the game and even mentioned that their kids played together. It’ll be an interesting storyline to follow whenever the Red Sox and Yankees play each other this season, as both teams are coming off of disappointing seasons after finishing toward the bottom of the American League East. It’s unclear whether the two are just downplaying their issues or being genuine, but what is clear is that the Yankees have wanted Alex Verdugo for a while.

“It’s cool to know that some guys have been pushing for me to come over here, like the way I play & the flair that I bring.”

Alex Verdugo

Aaron Judge had mentioned wanting the team to get Verdugo for a while earlier in the week as well, and it seems that the team values him as a key piece to their offense.

READ MORE: Yankees’ new left fielder could be a catalyst for a World Series in 2024

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Feb 20, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (99) laughs as the teams starts a new drill at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

There’s plenty of excitement about the new-look lineup for the Yankees, as they are ‘hellbent’ on winning getting over the hump and finally winning a World Series for the first time since 2009.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: