Acereros de Monclova signed LHP Ryan Verdugo to an unknown contract
A championship doesn’t mean you have a perfect team, that’s why the reigning Liga Mexicana de Béisbol champions have signed Verdugo. It’s unclear right now what role Verdugo will take on with Monclova, but he provides them with either starting or relief pitching depth. As the 2019 LMB playoffs rolled around it was clear that the Acereros would need to outslug their opponents to make up for a thin pitching staff. Maybe Monclova could have outslugged everyone again in 2020, but it’s smart of them to try and bolster their one glaring weakness by signing Verdugo.
The Pasadena, California native last pitched for Monclova in 2017 when he was quite good. He parlayed his success in Mexico to a couple of seasons in the Chinese Professional Baseball League for the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions. In 2018 Verdugo was quite good for the Lions, posting an ERA+ of 109, accumulating 2.8 tWAR, and throwing a perfect game while establishing himself as a reliable arm for the erstwhile Lions. 2019 represented a step back for the lefty as his ERA ballooned to 6.08 thanks in large part to a 1.68 WHIP. Verdugo struggled with injuries most of the season and was never able to get in any sort of groove.
If the Acereros are smart they’ll use Verdugo as a swingman. He’ll pitch out of the bullpen the majority of the time and fill in as a spot starter when needed. When healthy Verdugo has shown, in numerous leagues now, and ability to be a quality addition to a roster. Monclova is also using Verdugo’s Mexican heritage to their advantage as he will not count against a foreign roster spot. This does truly add to their roster flexibility while bringing in a player who should help shore up their main existing weakness.
For Verdugo, the past couple of seasons have been an issue of health. If he can avoid any nagging injuries he should provide plenty for Monclova fans to be happy about. However, if he ends up injured and can’t truly get going Monclova will need to look elsewhere to address their pitching needs. For some players, it really does boil down to a flip of a coin in terms of their ability to succeed. Monclova is banking on Verdugo’s coin landing on the healthy side in 2020.
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