MLB All-Star Game

Did Alex Verdugo lose All-Star ‘popularity contest' to Mariners star?

Verdugo believes he should be in Seattle this coming weekend instead of a certain AL player.

NBC Universal, Inc.

As of now, the Boston Red Sox are sending just one player to Seattle next week for the 2023 MLB All-Star Game. Alex Verdugo believes it should be two.

Verdugo wasn't named to the American League's All-Star roster last weekend (closer Kenley Jansen is Boston's lone representative), and his chances of making the squad as an injury replacement evaporated Tuesday when the Houston Astros' Kyle Tucker and the Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez got the nod instead.

When asked if he felt "snubbed" by voters, Verdugo got right to the point.

"Yeah," Verdugo told The Boston Globe's Julian McWilliams on Tuesday. "I mean, but it’s not even just in my regards. I just feel like it’s a fan popularity contest. And, like, the person who went in shouldn’t be there."

Verdugo declined to disclose which player he felt didn't belong at All-Star Weekend, but Rodriguez is a pretty strong bet. After slugging his way to Rookie of the Year honors in 2022, the 22-year-old phenom is enduring a bit of a sophomore slump, with a .251 batting average and 98 strikeouts through 84 games.

Meanwhile, Verdugo leads all American League outfielders in doubles (26), ranks fifth in batting average (.284) and has been the AL's best defensive right fielder to date based on Defensive Wins Above Replacement (0.9).

It's easy to see why Rodriguez earned the vote over Verdugo; he's one of baseball's most well-known young stars and his team is hosting the Midsummer Classic, while Verdugo's Red Sox currently sit in the AL East basement.

Verdugo insisted he won't lose sleep over the snub but admitted he would have liked some recognition for his strong start.

"I just want to play ball," Verdugo said. “I want to play ball and help the team win and some people are more active in certain things that get them more attention. But I want to play ball and be recognized for what I do on the field."

The Red Sox lead the Mariners by just one game in the AL Wild Card race -- Boston is three games out of the final Wild Card spot -- so perhaps Verdugo and his club can earn some recognition by pulling away from Seattle down the stretch.

Contact Us