The Boston Red Sox sent shockwaves throughout baseball on Tuesday evening when they traded everyday right fielder Alex Verdugo to the rival New York Yankees. While a Verdugo trade seemed possible for a while, nobody saw this coming on Tuesday, nor did anyone think he’d go to the Yankees.
Nevertheless, here we are. Boston now has a glaring hole in right field that it needs to fill, whether that be through internal candidates, the trade market, or free agency.
Let’s explore five players who could replace Verdugo as the Red Sox’ everyday right fielder.
It would be foolish to omit Juan Soto from consideration here given that he is, without question, the most high profile player available on the trade market this offseason. While Boston might not love the idea of trading away six or seven prized prospects, there’s no denying that the fit is natural. Boston needs a right fielder, needs a boost in its lineup, and has been linked to Soto before. He’s due for an extension before hitting free agency next winter, but the Red Sox can afford to make him a very competitive offer.
Soto played in all 162 games last season, slashing .275/.410/.519 as a key staple in the Padres’ lineup. He produced an absurd 44.0 oWAR, largely thanks to his 35 home runs, 18.6 percent walk rate, 18.2 percent strikeout rate, and 155 wRC+. Soto is one of the best hitters in baseball, and he’s only 25 years old.
As much as acquiring Soto feels unlikely, Tuesday’s Verdugo trade showed that new Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow isn’t afraid to shock the world. Plus, it’s possible the Padres’ asking price could soften if the Yankees, who now have an everyday right fielder, are less aggressive on the Soto front.