BOSTON -- It's been a strange and disappointing season for Alex Verdugo and the Boston Red Sox. It may get a little odder throughout the month of September.
The Red Sox won't be playing for much in the final month of the regular season, now sitting 6.5 games out of the final AL wild card spot with 28 games to play. That deficit grew over the last three days as Boston was swept by the Houston Astros at Fenway Park in a series that wasn't all that competitive.
After the Astros polished off the Sox with a 7-4 win Wednesday afternoon and the stadium had emptied, a curious scene played out at Fenway Park. From the press box, reporters who were writing their game stories saw Verdugo chatting with chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. And it didn't seem like the two were exchanging quick pleasantries, as Verdugo spent the majority of the time with his arms crossed listening to Bloom.
(Think back to your younger days when your dad was standing there with his arms crossed as you explained why you were out three hours after curfew.)
Wednesday's post-game discussion between Bloom and Verdugo lasted for nearly 40 minutes, according Julian McWilliams of The Boston Globe.
Chances are the two were not discussing their plans for that evening, and it likely wasn't Bloom giving Verdugo a rundown of his favorite BBQ places in Kansas City, where the Red Sox will spend their Labor Day weekend playing the Royals.
What was it about? No one knows at the moment. But it's interesting because by all accounts, Bloom was trying to trade Verdugo at the trade deadline earlier this month. Wednesday's discussion likely had something to do with the team's plan in the outfield going forward -- a plan that may not include Verdugo.
The 27-year-old is under team control for one more season after this year, which should make for an interesting arbitration case this fall. In his fourth season in Boston since being acquired in the Mookie Betts trade in 2020, Verdugo has hit .277 with 12 homers, 33 doubles, 51 RBI and 74 runs scored. He had a strong April and a very good August (which not many Red Sox players can say) but there was a lot of trouble in betwee.
Verdugo and Alex Cora have been bumping heads all season, and a late arrival for an afternoon game against the Blue Jays the first weekend of August led to the outfielder being benched and receiving a tongue lashing from his manager. It was the second time Verdugo was benched by Cora this season. The Sox were swept by Toronto that weekend, which began their August spiral.
As for what Bloom was discussing with Verdugo, he may have been letting him know that the team would now be focusing on getting young outfielders Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela as much major league experience as possible the rest of the season. With nothing left to play for this season, the focus could soon shift primarily to the future.
Or, on the flip side, maybe Bloom was clearing the air and letting Verdugo know that he remains part of the team's future plans. We'll know for sure as the lineups roll out over the final five weeks of the season, but Wednesday's lengthy chat between the CBO and Verdugo is another odd occurrence in a season that has been filled with odd occurrences.
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