Red Sox reportedly battling worst possible team for Teoscar Hernandez

The veteran outfielder is a popular target this offseason and he could fill a need for the Sox.

Sep 5, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Teoscar Hernandez (35) reacts
Sep 5, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Teoscar Hernandez (35) reacts / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Former Seattle Mariners outfielder Teoscar Hernandez is a quality target for the Red Sox this offseason. He's a reliable hitter and a great everyday outfielder. But there are some obstacles in the way if Boston is planning on signing the former Seattle Mariner, who has been linked to them in the latest MLB rumors.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, the villains of the 2023-24 offseason, are also in on Hernandez. Even after taking on a record-setting payroll in the wake of the Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto signings, the Dodgers are still all over the free agent market. And it's making things harder for the Sox.

The two-time Silver Slugger award winner could fit in well with both clubs. If he dons Dodger blue, Hernandez would slot nicely into the outfield since Mookie Betts will transition to the infield in 2024. If Hernandez signs elsewhere, LA's everyday left fielder will likely be Chris Taylor — a fine player, no doubt — but Hernandez is a more consistent bat with more power behind it. Hernandez is also a natural outfielder, whereas Taylor is a utility player and more of an infielder.

Boston's current outfield situation lacks proven, everyday players. Prospects Wilyer Abreu and Cedddane Rafaela could make cases for themselves this season, but with last-place finishes in three of the last four seasons, the Red Sox should push for better, experienced talent.

Red Sox Rumors: Boston battling Dodgers for Teoscar Hernandez?

Masataka Yoshida spent much of his time in left field for Boston in 2023, but with Justin Turner opting out of his contract early in the offseason, he's now a candidate to become the Sox's designated hitter. Yoshida also isn't the strongest defender, and adding a player with a skillset like Hernandez's in left would help the team on both sides of the ball.

The Red Sox lost a recent staple this offseason in Alex Verdugo, who played a solid right field in a park with exceptional difficulty at that position. Hernandez's defensive reliability would suggest that he could handle Fenway's right field well in the wake of No. 99's departure after he was traded to the New York Yankees.

Then again, Jarren Duran's speed is beneficial in center field, the Sox still have Rob Refsnyder on the roster, and they added Tyler O'Neill early in the offseason. Boston has a lot of options for its outfield heading into 2024, but none of them could fill in Verdugo's place in right field as effectively as Hernandez could.

The Red Sox still have a lot of work to do this offseason, including bolstering their rotation and middle infield. But adding Hernandez to the outfield would be a great start at fixing the starting nine. They just have to get to him before the Dodgers do.