The Boston Red Sox, after failing spectacularly in 2019 and bottoming out in 2020, have bottomed out again in 2022. That 2021 ALCS appearance, though. Don’t forget about it. The folks in Boston will tell you all about it in 2063.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo seemingly remains one of the core pieces of the current Sox team, but wasn’t exactly thrilled when speaking to the media following a recent 9-0 destruction at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays.
He was asked about the divergent paths between the NL powerhouse Dodgers, who have been baseball’s best team for the last decade, and the Red Sox, who, yes, did win championships in 2013 and 2018, but have missed the postseason entirely eight times since 2010.
Verdugo, outside of the team’s unexpected and, some might say, flukey ALCS run last year (which they lost in six games to the Astros) has mostly been around for bad times. The COVID-shortened season saw Boston finish 24-36, the year they tore down the roster by trading Mookie Betts to LA. In 2022, they’re going to finish under .500 for a multitude of reasons, but none more glaring than ownership’s direction.
Understandably, Verdugo wasn’t thrilled with what transpired this season … but now that he’s roped the Dodgers into his misery, he’s probably going to see some LA fans in his mentions if he hasn’t already.
Former Dodger Alex Verdugo took a shot at LA’s 2020 World Series title
Per the Boston Globe (subscription required), here’s what Verdugo had to say about LA’s 2020 World Series triumph:
"“It’s the Dodgers, bro. They already have a really good team. They already solidified most of their pieces. And you know, adding Mookie Betts just increases it. It only makes that team better. But when Mookie Betts is on the injured list they’re still winning ball games. But when he’s obviously healthy and back, it just takes them up, just takes them that step better.“A 60-game season, it’s still hard to judge to this day. Like yeah, it’s a World Series, right? Yeah, they got a ring. But they didn’t play any games at their home field. They didn’t. There weren’t any fans there. It was 60 games. Anybody could ball out for 60 games. That extra 102 is a big difference. They won it, it’s a true one, for what we call it. But I still call it as I see it, it’s still a 60-gamer.”"
Verdugo has a point. Playing an extra 102 games is a big difference. Glad he was able to point that out. But the regular season has never mattered for the Dodgers, at least since 2013. They’ve captured nine division titles over those 10 years, with the only one they didn’t snag being a one-game loss to the historic 107-win Giants in 2021.
In fact, the Dodgers won their World Series in the largest playoff field ever, at that time. MLB expanded the postseason that year due to the shortened regular season, and the Dodgers ripped through the Wild Card round (2-0 over the Brewers), NLDS (3-0 over the Padres), NLCS (4-3 over the Braves) and World Series (4-2 over the Rays). No team had ever played a three-game series, a five-game series, and two seven-game series to capture a title.
The Dodgers know the importance of every game — that’s why they have the most wins in all of MLB since 2010. Over their last five full seasons, the Dodgers have won 104 or more games four times. Verdugo was even on the 2019 Dodgers, who won 106 games!
He simply picked the wrong fight here and let his frustrations take over. In the end, he’ll fit into Boston culture perfectly. He’s the exact person who would say “too bad” to all the critics if he had won a World Series in a 60-game season, but would also question the merit of such an accomplishment from somebody else.
Looks like the trade worked out for everyone.