Juan Soto To Red Sox? Why Blockbuster Trade Could Make Sense For Boston

Superstars like Soto rarely become available


Jul 29, 2022

Will the Red Sox make a splash at the Major League Baseball trade deadline? Boston is in the thick of the American League wild card race and could use a few pieces. As such, we’ll examine whether several notable trade targets make sense (or don’t make sense) as the club looks to retool for the second half of the season.

Juan Soto is a generational talent. He’s also just 23 years old and under contract with the Nationals for two more years after this season.

So, why is Washington making him available before the Aug. 2 Major League Baseball trade deadline? Well, it stems from Soto rejecting a 15-year, $440 million contract offer and general manager Mike Rizzo in turn having to consider all options while trying to revamp the Nationals.

Basically, the Nats — owners of the worst record in baseball — are in a bad place right now, three seasons removed from their 2019 World Series title. And they can’t afford to let Soto eventually walk in free agency for nothing more than draft-pick compensation. So, putting the two-time All-Star on the trade market should create a bidding war that nets Washington a haul that’ll expedite its rebuild.

Every team, including the Red Sox, should at least inquire about Soto, if they haven’t already. Now, let’s dive in to see whether a blockbuster actually makes sense for Boston.

Position: OF
Age: 23 (Oct. 25, 1998)
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 224 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

2022 stats*:
97 games (420 plate appearances)
20 HRs, 45 RBIs, 5 SBs
154 OPS+, 144 wRC+, 2.3 fWAR

Career stats*:
516 games (2,423 plate appearances)
118 HRs, 357 RBIs, 37 SBs
159 OPS+, 154 wRC+, 21.2 fWAR

*through July 27

Why Soto makes sense for Red Sox:
Let’s put it this way: If MLB started from scratch, with every player thrown into a draft, Soto might be the first pick. He’d certainly be among the top three or five. He’s that good. And his youth suggests he might only get better. Soto, now in his fifth season, is just sniffing his prime. Which is scary.

Really, he’d make sense as a building block for any team, including Boston. It doesn’t necessarily matter where the club is with regards to contention — assuming the acquiring team looks to sign Soto to an extension — because it’s reasonable to expect a decade or more of sustained offensive excellence.

Soto is an on-base machine. He has an uncanny ability to control the strike zone, as well as immense power he can tap into when opposing pitchers make mistakes. It’s a truly elite package that’s drawn comparisons to Ted Williams, given how advanced Soto is as a hitter at such a young age.

One could argue the Red Sox have bigger short-term needs, namely in the bullpen and at first base. But their outfield has been a weak spot, too, and Soto, a left-handed hitter whose defense admittedly leaves something to be desired, would completely change the complexion of both the unit and Boston’s lineup as a whole. Again, he’s the type of player you can acquire then construct the roster from there. Not the other way around.

The Red Sox also don’t have a lot of money on the books beyond 2022. So while they’ll still need to determine whether to lock up Xander Bogaerts (can opt out of his contract after this season) and/or Rafael Devers (can become a free agent after next season), they could acquire Soto with the flexibility to make sure he sticks around in Boston for a long, long time.

Why Soto doesn’t make sense for Red Sox:
Cost, both in terms of the prospect capital it’ll take to pry him away from the nation’s capital and the financial commitment it’ll require to ensure he stays in Boston beyond 2024.

It’s easy to say the Red Sox, or whoever, should do “whatever it takes” to land Soto, for all the reasons mentioned above. But actually pulling the trigger is an entirely different story, especially since the Red Sox have other roster flaws and gutting the farm system for one player — even a superstar of Soto’s ilk — would run counter to Chaim Bloom’s stated goal of building a sustainable contender.

Just think, the Nationals currently employ Soto, and they’re terrible because they don’t have the right pieces around him. It’s a similar situation in Los Angeles, where the Angels’ missteps have prevented them from capitalizing on the primes of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

Would the Red Sox, as constructed, be better with Soto? Probably. But there’s so much uncertainty across the roster — starting with the futures of Bogaerts and Devers, plus the pitching staff — that going all-in for Soto, while tempting, might only inhibit their efforts in other areas.

Verdict: Fun to think about, but not happening.

Prediction: The Padres acquire Soto in A.J. Preller’s latest splash.

Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images
Gillette Stadium
Previous Article

New Photos Show Significant Progress On Gillette Stadium Renovations

New England Patriots cornerback Terrance Mitchell
Next Article

Patriots Mailbag: How Hottest Training Camp Battles Are Shaping Up

Picked For You