Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Yankees-Red Sox trades: Alex Verdugo headlines just seventh swap between AL East rivals in last 50 years

The Yankees and Red Sox agreed to a four-player swap on Tuesday night as part of Major League Baseball’s annual winter meetings that sent veteran outfielder Alex Verdugo to New York and three right-handed pitchers (including up-and-down reliever Greg Weissert) to Boston. 

Although the Yankees and Red Sox made a trade earlier this season — that memorable blockbuster involving Greg Allen and Diego Hernandez — they’ve more often than not avoided making deals with one another. In fact, the Verdugo trade represented just their seventh swap in the last 50 years.

Blame it on the Babe Ruth trade, or any other combination of factors. Whatever the case, we here at CBS Sports wanted to mark the occasion by highlighting those six previous deals that have brought the Yankees and Red Sox together since 1973. Below, you’ll find a recap of those trades in chronological order.

1. March 28, 1986: The Yankees trade Don Baylor to the Red Sox for Mike Easler

This just so happened to be the first trade between the Yankees and Red Sox in 14 years — or, since the Sparky Lyle deal. For our money, the Yankees came out ahead here. Baylor hit for a 126 OPS+ over parts of three seasons in New York. Easler, conversely, tallied a 119 OPS+ in two years for the Red Sox. You would be within reason to call it a win-win trade, but that wasn’t enough to convince the two sides to become frequent trading partners. 

2. September 1, 1994: The Yankees purchase Scott Bankhead from the Red Sox

Bankhead had made 67 appearances with the Red Sox in 1993-94. He pitched 20 times in the big leagues for the Yankees, posting a 6.00 ERA. He was released by the Yankees that July and never again performed in the majors.

3. August 13, 1997: The Yankees trade a player to be named later (Jim Mecir) and Tony Armas to the Red Sox for Randy Brown and Mike Stanley

The Yankees obtained Stanley ahead of the stretch run, and he helped lift them into the playoffs after hitting for a 127 OPS+ in 28 games. Even so, the Red Sox came out ahead here in a roundabout way. That’s because they were able to flip Armas to the Montreal Expos in exchange for another right-handed pitcher named Pedro Martinez. You may have heard of him. Late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was reportedly displeased with that sequence of events.

4. July 31, 2014: The Red Sox trade Stephen Drew and cash to the Yankees for Kelly Johnson

The only thing notable about this swap of veteran infielders was that it marked the first trade between the Yankees and the Red Sox in nearly 17 years. Otherwise? Johnson appeared in all of 10 games for the Red Sox, and Drew posted a 39 OPS+ over the remainder of the season with the Yankees. 

5. January 25, 2021: The Yankees trade Frank German and Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox for cash

The Yankees’ motivation here was to create financial flexibility to bring back veteran outfielder Brett Gardner, among other moves. Ottavino had a solid season with the Red Sox, posting a 112 ERA+ in 62 innings. He’s long since departed. German, meanwhile, appeared in five games with Boston in 2022 before being shipped to the White Sox in a minor trade this past spring. 

6. May 20, 2023: The Yankees trade Diego Hernandez to the Red Sox for Greg Allen

As we joked in the introduction, the Yankees and Red Sox made one trade earlier this summer. Allen returned to New York for a second stint, posting a 119 OPS+ over 22 games. He was released in August. Hernandez, for his part, is a 19-year-old righty who did not pitch this season following elbow surgery.

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