Alex Verdugo

Report: Red Sox make Alex Verdugo available on trade market

Verdugo is one of several players the Red Sox could deal ahead of the MLB trade deadline.

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The Boston Red Sox appear active on both sides of the MLB trade market ahead of Tuesday's 6 p.m. ET deadline.

The Red Sox have told other teams they're "willing to listen to offers" for outfielder Alex Verdugo, MassLive's Chris Cotillo and Sean McAdam reported Sunday, adding that Boston reached out to another American League team asking if Verdugo would be of interest to them.

At seven games over .500 and just 2.5 games out of an AL wild card spot, the Red Sox are positioned to be buyers at this year's deadline. Yet recent reports have suggested chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is open to "selling" several of Boston's key contributors; outfielder Adam Duvall has drawn interest from several teams, while the Red Sox reportedly are mulling the idea of trading pitcher James Paxton.

While Duvall and Paxton both make sense as trade chips -- they're both veterans on expiring contracts who are somewhat expendable -- a Verdugo trade would be more surprising. The 27-year-old is under team control through the 2024 season and barely missed out on an All-Star nod (he entered the break with a .290 batting average) before hitting a slump over the past 11 games.

Verdugo and the Red Sox have yet to discuss a new contract extension, however, and if the Red Sox aren't sold on him as their long-term starting right fielder, they could get a decent return for the seven-year veteran on the open market. Bloom said recently he'd prefer to add "core contributors" on long-term contracts as opposed to rentals, so perhaps Verdugo could be the trade piece that helps him accomplish that goal.

Dealing Verdugo could come with a cost, however; the team would need to turn to platoon man Rob Refsnyder or Triple-A prospect Ceddane Rafaela in right field if it also moves Duvall, and trading a core starter could send the wrong message in the clubhouse, similar to how last year's Christian Vazquez trade rankled some players.

Bloom can't afford the same outcome as last season, so he'll need to thread the needle carefully over the next 24-plus hours.

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