The Boston Red Sox set expectations high going into this offseason. Overall, they haven't been met. They haven't been a team likely to spend big-market money in recent years, so it seems more likely that team improvements will come through trades.
A lot of names have been floated in trade rumors for Boston throughout the offseason — some sound like good ideas. Others? Not so much. A few of the names mentioned in trade rumors are among the Sox's highest-paid players, and finding a team to take on some of those contracts would be no easy feat.
All of the players mentioned have the potential to serve Boston well in 2024. But some have value to other teams that may be too good to hold onto. Others are too good to give away.
The Red Sox's most desperate needs are a left-handed arm in the starting rotation and a right-handed power hitter for the lineup. Likely, none of these players will get Boston those returns on their own, but pair them with some of the prospects the front office is always praising, and the Red Sox may well have a real offer on the table.
Either way, here's where the Sox need to draw the line with some oft-mentioned names.
3 players the Red Sox should trade and 2 they should keep for 2024
TRADE - Kenley Jansen, RHP
It's been rumored that the Sox have been taking calls for Jansen for weeks. It's also been reported the Red Sox told a free agent target they had to "shed payroll" before pursuing him. Boston doesn't need to shed payroll, but Jansen is owed $16 million for the upcoming season and is among the Sox's highest-paid players in 2024.
Jansen earned an All-Star nod with the Red Sox, his first since 2018, despite his season in Boston not being one of his best. He finished with a 3.36 ERA and 29 saves. He registered one of his lowest strikeout and innings totals last year (52 Ks across 44.2 innings).
Jansen's value is still relatively high and he's regarded as one of the best closers in the game. Finding a team to take on Jansen's salary will be no easy task, but if Boston can find a suitor, they should swap him for whatever value they can get.
KEEP - Jarren Duran, OF
Duran's name has been floated around in many trade possibilities by fans and reporters this offseason, and for good reason. Duran stepped up his production at the plate and in the field last season and is shaping up to be a reliable player for Boston.
The Red Sox have a history of holding onto prospects, and Duran is one showing upside. His speed is nearly unmatched, making him a serious asset on the base paths — he routinely stretches singles into doubles and can consistently swipe bags.
Duran's prowess as a leadoff hitter is too good for the Sox to give up in a batting order that lacks power. He slashed .412/.429/.677 in the leadoff spot last season and his ability to get on base and be a threat with his legs makes him a key piece in Boston's order.