There was once a time when fans of most big market teams could fantasize about acquiring any big name player, and for the most part the idea wasn’t completely unrealistic.
Around the turn of the 21st century, the Red Sox landed Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez, two of the best players of their era, and nearly Alex Rodriguez. They acquired Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett and more recently Chris Sale, and there’s a whole laundry list of stars the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and lately the New York Mets have brought in over the years.
Now, the idea Boston could go out and land a real big fish feels more farfetched. It’s not that the club doesn’t have the resources, it’s that ever since Mookie Betts got away the prevailing sense has been the Red Sox aren’t willing to go the extra mile it takes to bring in a superstar.
Maybe that will change when the new head of baseball operations comes aboard, but if the Red Sox wanted to shake up the narrative and put the rest of the league on notice, there’s one player in particular who looms as an obvious target.
Juan Soto could potentially go down as one of the greatest players in baseball history. He made his MLB debut as a 19-year-old in May 2018, and in six big league seasons since Soto’s already become a three-time All-Star, won a batting title and helped lead the Washington Nationals to the 2019 World Series championship.
He also has the best combination of power and plate discipline the league has seen since Barry Bonds, and on top of that he was one of just four players who played in all 162 games this past season.
Soto, who is about to turn 25, is also set to hit free agency after this coming season, and it’s widely expected he’ll land one of the largest contracts in MLB history. He’s already turned down a 15-year, $440 million offer from Washington, just to put things in perspective.
Given how the San Diego Padres flopped after going all-in this past season, and given how they’ve already invested nearly $1 billion in Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts over the next decade, it’s reasonable to imagine the Padres could trade Soto and replenish the farm system they stripped to get him in the first place.
San Diego paid a king’s ransom when they landed the outfielder ahead of the 2022 trade deadline, but now only a year from free agency his price should be much lower.