Red Sox outfield and Jarren Duran -- what's going on?
Boston's outfield has been up in the air for the entire offseason. Swapping Verdugo for O'Neill in December may have created more problems than were solved.
O'Neill is a good defender and can take Verdugo's place in right field nicely, but his bat doesn't match the former's production. Jarren Duran is not an outfielder by trade and it shows in his defense. Yoshida's defense leaves something to be desired, too, but he and Duran can consistently get on base and score runs. That's not enough, though. The Red Sox need more, even more than prospects Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela could provide.
Boston's outfield lacks star power and offensive power, as a whole. The team has been connected to Jorge Soler multiple times this offseason, but like the rest of the Red Sox's "interests," no deal has been made. Soler would not solve the Sox's defensive issues in the pastures, but he would bring the offensive production that they're sorely missing from the outfield.
Duran's name has also been brought up in trade conversations, and since spring training is coming, the negotiations are beginning to hold more weight. The Padres have shown interest in the outfielder but they and the Sox have not yet reached a deal. San Diego doesn't have much MLB-ready talent that would make sense to dish in a deal for Duran, so trading him may not improve the outfield, or the rest of the team, at all in the short term.
Boston has also shown interest in a few other outfield candidates, including two who have played with the Red Sox before. Adam Duvall, Tommy Pham, Randal Grichuk and Michael A. Taylor are all available and in need of jobs before spring training starts, and as seasoned vets, they'll all likely get one.
Soler and Duvall seem like the two best candidates so far for restructuring the outfield. Duvall has played for the Sox before and he got off to a hot start last season before injuring his wrist. Soler has the star power Boston's roster usually commands and the strong bat the Red Sox need.
Boston has a lot of options. It needs to decide what it needs most and act on the decision before another team does.