Yankees have acquired 2 pieces from Red Sox’s failed blockbuster Mookie Betts trade

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees announced on Tuesday afternoon that they acquired former Boston Red Sox prospect Jeter Downs off waivers from the Washington Nationals.

Downs is a utility infielder that could serve a purpose in 2024. The Yankees will likely stash him in Triple-A, where he can tweak his fundamentals and elevate his metrics. The 25-year-old struggled in Triple-A last year with Washington, hitting .236/.358/.379, including three home runs and 18 RBIs. His 91 wRC+ indicated he was 9% worse than the average Triple-A hitter, which certainly isn’t optimistic.

The Yankees Continue to Add Pieces From the Mookie Betts Trade

However, Downs has an interesting backstory, having been traded to the Red Sox several years ago in the blockbuster Mookie Betts deal. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Downs, Alex Verdugo, and Connor Wong to Boston in exchange for Betts and David Price.

Funny enough, the Yankees have ended up with two of those players in return, Verdugo and now Downs. The Yanks acquired Verdugo several days ago from Boston in exchange for four pitchers. Obviously, the Yankees landed Juan Soto several days later, moving even more arms in the process.

Verdugo projects to start in left field for the Yankees, having spent the last four seasons with the Red Sox. Last season, he had his first below-average offensive campaign since 2018. He hit .264/.324/.421, including 13 home runs and 54 RBIs. The Yankees hope he can run back his 2021 campaign when he slashed .289/.351/.426, including 13 homers, 63 RBIs, and a 106 wRC+. Verdugo is a fine defensive player and should offer the Yankees a much more productive left fielder with a lefty bat that can capitalize on the short right porch in Yankee Stadium.

From a rival standpoint, it is always nice to see Boston on the bad end of a trade, but they reinforced the Dodgers in the process. Los Angeles recently added Shohei Ohtani and are trying to make a strong push for Yoshinobu Yamamoto on the free-agent market.

At this rate, they are World Series-bound and the Yankees need to continue adding quality pieces. Rumors indicate that the Bombers lead the pack for Yamamoto, but he is still undecided and could wait until after Christmas to wind down this wild free agency tour. Fortunately, he has until January 4, when his 45-day posting window ends, to make a choice.

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