MLB trade grades: Yankees pull of stunning deal with Red Sox for Alex Verdugo

The New York Yankees have traded for Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo.

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Alex Verdugo is crossing enemy lines, but not by choice. The Boston Red Sox traded Verdugo to their hated rival, the New York Yankees, late on Tuesday night. Verdugo had been rumored to be on the trade block for the last few days, and Boston found an unusual suitor in New York.

The Yankees and Red Sox have been rivals for over a century. Trades between the two sides are few and far between, if only because they can often come back to bite either Boston or New York on the game's greatest stage.

Verdugo serves as a corner outfield upgrade for the Yankees if they wish to use him in that role. New York is also reportedly interested in San Diego Padres star Juan Soto, and the acquisition of Verdugo is not expected to impact that, per Jack Curry of YES.

MLB Trade Grades: Who won the Yankees-Red Sox deal for Alex Verdugo?

The complete trade between Boston and New York is a bit complicated, and we likely won't know the real winner until a few years from now. Verdugo only has one year left on his contract, but he's a capable left-handed bat and should thrive in Yankee Stadium. Verdugo slashed .264/.324/.421 with 13 home runs last year. He would be an upgrade over the Yankees current right field situation.

Boston acquires the Yankees No. 12 prospect, 23-year-old Richard Fitts, as well as relief pitcher Greg Weissert and 2023 eighth-round selection Nicholas Judice. On the surface, this isn't a lot to give up for Verdugo, who is a former top prospect in the Dodgers system, and was involved in the Mookie Betts trade.

New York Yankees: B+
Boston Red Sox: C

The first impressions of this trade is a simple one -- the Red Sox are punting on their limited return for Betts, who is one of the best players of his generation. Boston would not pay Betts asking price ahead of free agency, so he was sent to LA, where he has thrived.

The Yankees likely will not let the acquisition of Verdugo keep them fro pursuing Soto, but it does give them an applicable backup plan if they cannot add the All-Star outfielder.