Alex Verdugo is a good baseball player with a beautiful swing who will probably be on the Red Sox for a whole bucket of years, and I cannot stand him.
Okay that’s not exactly true. I have nothing against him personally outside of whatever feelings I have about the off-field incident from his days as a Dodgers prospect, but I am staying within the baselines today, so we’re talking hitting, fielding, that stuff. Your mileage may vary on this approach, but this here is my car.
To be candid and predictable, the reason I don’t wanna hear about Verdugo is, yes, The Trade. Shockingly, a 60-game season followed by a World Series win for Mookie Betts’s team — on which he was the clear-cut best player among an absolute all-star group — did nothing to temper my distaste over the whole affair. It stinks! It stunk then, stinks now and will stink way beyond 2032 or whenever Betts’s supposedly albatross contract is up.
(While we’re on the subject, are we ready to acknowledge that super long-term contracts, these days, aren’t the same as they were 20 years ago? Signing a guy for an under market-value decade-plus is good for your team, no matter what the total cash outlay. In the old days, say, the Miguel Cabrera days, people were paying over market value for far too many years. People are put off by the idea of $300 million commitments as budget-savvy, but there’s a touch more to payroll management than running scared at large numbers.)
But... BUT! Verdugo is good, and as good for Fenway as advertised. If that much wasn’t clear before the year, it is now. So again, nothing against him as a player. In fact my beef probably isn’t with him at all but with @RedSox, which is slowly driving me crazier on the subject.
First things first on that: I understand that these accounts are run by people, likely underpaid and doing the boss’s bidding, who don’t deserve actual scorn. Just play scorn. I mean, I could always unfollow and save myself the headache, but I’d rather feel like I was part of the team. It’s the whole point! So it is with fake scorn and a whole lotta love that I’m begging them to stop trying to make Dugie happen. (Not the nickname, the whole deal.)
Most recently, Verdugo was subject of a photo shoot for a Red Sox magazine, and we were subjected to many pictures of him strolling around Fenway, each of which was tagged with a caption far out of proportion, enthusiastically, to the general coolness around the team right now. This comes on the heels of the absolute full-court press on which @RedSox went immediately following the trade, which was a transparent attempt to turn the narrative around the most embarrassing front office move the team had made in more than 100 years, and one which disgraced the entire sport. Putting the burden of evening that out on Verdugo’s shoulders wasn’t fair to him or us, and is still just irrepressibly annoying. You can’t turn a loss into a win by sheer force, and I resent being asked to do so.
So here’s my solution: just leave it be. Focus on somebody else for once, get Verdugo out of the spotlight until the actual winning starts. Give the whole shebang some space to breathe. When the actual winning starts, then lean hard on Dugie, who by that time may have earned it in games that matter. Until then, we all need a little break, whether @RedSox decides to permit us one or not. But if you know, you know.