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Craig Breslow Starts His Tenure With A Chef’s Kiss

Sending Alex Verdugo to the Yankees closes out the Mookie Betts trade in hilarious fashion.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
He gone.
Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

You know those videos of deaf babies getting hearing aids? The ones that make you cry when you see the kid react to their mom’s voice for the first time? The ones where they realize, in their bubbly little brains, holy shit, there’s so much more to all this “life thing” that they knew? That everything was going to be markedly different — better — thereafter? Yes? No? Either way, I’m just asking. No reason. Except this one:

Yesterday, Craig Breslow traded Alex Verdugo to the Yankees for pitching in his first major move in charge of the Sox, nearly perfectly mirroring Chaim Bloom’s first move, which was to acquire Verdugo for Mookie Betts. All Breslow did was cash out the equivalent of Bloom’s meme coin crypto account, years after it was supposed to have paid off in spades when, in fact, it has had rare spikes on a definitive, predictable downward trend. With a logjam in the outfield (created by Bloom, naturally), getting pennies on the dollar to trade Verdugo to his main rival was the best Breslow thought he could do, and I applaud him for pulling the trigger rather than canvassing the entire organization three times and changing his mind four times before making a move.

It feels nice to have an adult in charge again, and it feels nice to have Verdugo far from the 2024 Red Sox, and feels even nicer that if he sticks around the Bronx he’s going to have to shave that disgusting beard. To Alex: We had some good times and a lot more bad ones, but sincerely enjoy the fascism.

It wasn’t inherently Verdugo’s fault that he was the totemic example of Bloom’s incompetence, but he didn’t do himself any favors, neither before he arrived (a disturbing personal anecdote in his past) nor after (bickering with Alex Cora and sitting out from time to time) to the point that any sympathy I had for him was long, long gone. That Connor Wong is the only guy left from the Betts deal, at least as of now, is fitting: He’s the only guy I’d want, too.

Some people are surprised that the Yankees were the team that stepped up here, and that the Sox deigned to deal with them, but I’m happier that Verdugo is a part of the 2024 Bombers than I am sad. In the rare case he blossoms into a superstar over there, it’ll be downright hilarious, and if he falls flat on his face it’ll be even funnier. If he’s just average, which he is, it won’t be threatening.

It never was. Verdugo did not elevate the Red Sox in any meaningful way, on or off of the field. For his sake, he’ll no longer be saddled with the Betts burden, which I cannot imagine has been fun with which to live. That said, I’m not sure it mattered much to him. He knows, as I know, as we all know and always have known, that he’s just not that good. He’s unlike Betts in virtually every way there is to be as a baseball player, and Betts is the best at nearly all of them, so why even start the comparison? He was a random name for the history books. And now, like Mookie, he’s gone. For a guy named “Dick Fitts.” You can’t make it up.