There’s more than one road the Boston Red Sox can take to bolster their roster this Major League Baseball offseason.

They could open up the checkbook, with two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani and several very good starting pitchers available in free agency. Or they could tap into the trade market, where a few other notable names might be moved before Opening Day, for one reason or another.

Boston undoubtedly will consider both paths, with the ultimate plan perhaps involving some combination of the two. It’s the silver lining to what otherwise has been a rocky two-year stretch for the Red Sox: They have both the money and the prospect capital to act aggressively this winter.

We’ve already explored some starters, some relievers and some position players the Red Sox could target in free agency. Now, let’s shift gears and evaluate some trade candidates, starting with position players.

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Will the Red Sox actually pursue any of these players? Who knows. But it’s nevertheless a worthwhile exercise as Boston navigates its first offseason under new chief baseball officer Craig Breslow.

Juan Soto, OF, San Diego Padres
It’s crazy to think the Padres might trade Soto a season and a half after giving up basically their entire farm system for the star outfielder. Yet, it’s very much on the table as San Diego grapples with its payroll dilemma. Soto, who reportedly rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract extension offer from the Washington Nationals in 2022, is set to become a free agent after the 2024 campaign. He’d cost an arm and a leg — both financially and in terms of trade compensation — and the last thing the Red Sox need is another left-handed-hitting outfielder. But we’re talking about one of the game’s best players. Soto is a master in the batter’s box. And he’s just 25 years old.

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Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
The Angels haven’t had a winning season since 2015. They’re also at risk of losing Ohtani in free agency. While Los Angeles might not want to trade Trout, one could argue it’s in the organization’s best interest, as the returning package could expedite a rebuild. The problem is that a deal might prove complicated. Not only does Trout have a full no-trade clause. He’s also owed almost $250 million over the next seven years, a less-than-ideal price tag for a 32-year-old coming off a string of injury plagued seasons.

Tyler O’Neill, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
O’Neill hasn’t been able to build on his breakout 2021, with injuries playing a factor the last two seasons. He’s set to become a free agent after 2024. That creates an interesting buy-low opportunity. The 28-year-old is a two-time Gold Glove winner in left field who’s also capable of playing center field. Combine the defensive prowess with his offensive upside from the right side — he was a Statcast darling in 2021 — and it’s easy to see why he might appeal to teams outside of St. Louis.

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Gleyber Torres, 2B, New York Yankees
It’s rare that the Red Sox and Yankees do business. But it’s not unprecedented. And WEEI’s Rob Bradford recently reported that Torres was a trade target for Boston over the summer. The Red Sox need someone to share the middle infield with shortstop Trevor Story. It just so happens the Yankees have a surplus of such players. So, perhaps Boston can build a package for Torres that helps both teams. Torres, who turns 27 in December, is entering the final year of his contract.

Jorge Polanco, 2B, Minnesota Twins
Polanco, like Torres, is a bat-first second baseman. He’s slated to earn $10.5 million in 2024 — a figure that could make him expendable if the Twins slash payroll as expected — and his deal carries a $12 million club option for 2025. The 30-year-old is coming off a season in which he was limited to 80 games, but he’s nevertheless a solid everyday player whose résumé includes an All-Star appearance in 2019 and a 33-homer, 98-RBI output in 2021.

Jonathan India, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
India is less accomplished than Torres and Polanco, having regressed in back-to-back seasons after being named National League Rookie of the Year in 2021. He isn’t a great defender. And his Statcast metrics are so-so at best. Still, turning just 27 in December, India is under club control for three more years. His offensive upside is high enough that a team like the Red Sox might be interested if the Reds leverage their infield depth and make him available.

Willy Adames, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
Adames is entering the final year of his contract and projected for an arbitration salary north of $12 million. As such, the Brewers could be inclined to move the 28-year-old, who’s an excellent defensive shortstop with plenty of pop despite a lackluster 2023 at the dish. Acquiring Adames presumably would pave the way for Story to move back to second base, where he excelled defensively with Boston in 2022. The Red Sox also could try to swing a blockbuster for both Adames and pitcher Corbin Burnes, if they’re really feeling froggy, although that, of course, would cost a lot.

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Pete Alonso, 1B, New York Mets
The Red Sox don’t need a first baseman. Triston Casas, an American League Rookie of the Year finalist, was sensational in the second half last season. But Boston has the designated hitter spot to play with if Justin Turner doesn’t return in free agency. While Alonso is by no means a perfect player, he has all-world power, evidenced by him averaging 45 home runs per 162 games. He’s also a right-handed hitter, an important distinction for a team as left-handed heavy as the Red Sox right now.

Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images