Friday, May 3, 2024

The Dugie Oddity


It's always the ex-Red Sox that look strange the first time they suit up for the Yankees. Johnny Damon in 2006 looked bizarre. Same with Kevin Youkilis in 2013, or Luis Tiant in 1979. The moment they start to really feel their own in a Yankee uniform is always good to savor, because then it doesn't look weird anymore. Jacoby Ellsbury, as maligned as he is, did have several moments of legitimacy as a Yankee. They were just too few. 

Which is why I worried a little when Alex Verdugo was dealt for. I initially thought he was bait for Juan Soto, but when the deal passed and we were left with Judge, Soto, Grisham AND Verdugo, and Dominguez and Jones somewhere down the line, I was a little confused. The last thing I wanted was for Verdugo to feel left out, and in New York, a city that's already had its issues with Verdugo, is not the place for somebody to get left out to dry. And so I just hoped that Dugie would continue his Boston progress and have a great season for us.

Now, let's not be coy here- Alex Verdugo still looks weird as a Yankee. Because of the 'no facial hair' rule, the blonde beard is gone, and all that's left is just an albino-looking tattooed guy. So he just looks like a secondary villain from a John Wick movie at the moment. And in his first few games, that was his main appeal. Some great plays in the outfield, the occasional contact hit, and...just looking really intimidating in pinstripes. 

Thankfully, Verdugo has become one of our most reliable players not named Juan Soto. He's hitting .269 with 28 hits, 13 RBIs and 4 homers, and is showing versatility already, with great contact moments, great power moments and great outfield moments. Verdugo-Judge-Soto has already been a fantastic outfield solely due to the impressive play out there, let alone all three's ability to terrorize pitchers. And already, the fans have taken to Dugie, and have respected his style of play as well as his fun-loving personality. A lot like Johnny Damon, Verdugo has become a hit here despite any indication that it'd be tricky.

The Yanks themselves have had something of a rough stretch, Brewers shellacking notwithstanding. They've dropped some games to Baltimore, which is gonna happen considering that they're just a more varied team than us. Rizzo's heating up but Volpe's cooled down. The starting 5 are still awesome but Rodon's last start has dulled his overall appeal. Eventually this team will be more than just The Juan Soto show, as Judge has bound to heat up eventually, but it's just a weak in-between stretch I guess. I expect improvement. We all do, I think.

And having somebody like Alex Verdugo doing well definitely helps.

Coming Tomorrow- Undoubtedly one of the best pitchers of the decade so far. 

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