John Henry's Red Sox redemption arc could be to steal Juan Soto from Yankees

Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Yankees
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox didn't spend big this offseason like they promised, and fans aren't going to let them forget it.

The front office did try to secure some highly-coveted free agents, though. Boston's big-ticket player was supposed to be Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and the front office announced that it did compete for his services. The high-rolling Dodgers ended up signing Yamamoto, and the chance to play with Shohei Ohtani likely didn't hurt their pursuit.

By the time spring training rolled around, the Sox hadn't made any huge moves. Fans voiced their frustrations with the front office's budget plan, and were told something to the effect of "money isn't everything." Based on Boston's performance this year, spending money — or not spending — clearly means something.

Most of the blame for Boston's lessening budget justifiably rests on John Henry, and fans have caught onto his game. His recent interview with the Financial Times revealed his utter apathy toward his ball club, and Red Sox Nation didn't take kindly to his statements.

Since Henry and the Sox saved their pennies last winter, they have the chance, and the money, to go big this year. With one move, albeit, an incredibly expensive one, Henry could repay fans for his recent seasons of neglect, and stick it to Boston's enemy at the same time.

Juan Soto will reach free agency after the 2024 season. He'll be as coveted as Ohtani, and maybe just as expensive. But the Yankees have shown he's worth the money.

John Henry could fix his reputation with Red Sox fans with one move — sign Juan Soto this winter

Soto would be a good match for the Red Sox outfield and he would thrive at Fenway Park. Tyler O'Neill's contract expires at the end of the season, and there's a decent chance he'll be gone before then. Rob Refsnyder's contract includes a club option for 2025, which the Red Sox could exercise.

Boston would be left with Jarren Duran, Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela. Rafaela's defense is too valuable to be a bench player, so the Sox would have to make something work with their outfield alignment. If they could find a way to get rid of Trevor Story, Rafaela could move to shortstop and solve the infield defense problem while making room for Soto at the same time. Fenway's right field is one of the most complicated in the league defensively, and Abreu has done a standout job there, so Soto might prefer to learn to play off the Monster in left.

Soto's bat would be a game-changer for any team, but Boston could make particularly good use of his offensive skills. If Soto batted between Duran and Rafael Devers or Triston Casas, the top of the Red Sox's order could be next to unstoppable.

Duran gets on base at a high clip and is the most elite baserunner in MLB, according to Baseball Savant — he's in the 100th percentile for baserunning run value. Not even halfway through the season, Duran has 20 doubles, 10 triples and 15 steals. More often than not, he's in scoring position. If Soto followed him with his insane 1.025 OPS, the Red Sox could be a run-scoring machine.

Casas' walk rate is high and Devers' is climbing. Both have shown a proven talent for hitting homers, but the Red Sox bash more solo shots than anything. Soto and Duran's combined on-base talents at the top of the order would drastically change the picture of Boston's offense.

Soto is a generational talent and he'll have plenty of suitors shortly after New York's season ends. The Red Sox have the money and the franchise has the history and pull to be near the top of the list. Unfortunately, the move would require something more than just a change of heart from Henry — more like a fundamental shift in priorities.

Based on Boston's recent offseason performances, there's no reason to assume it would make a move so big. But fans can dream.

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