2. Masataka Yoshida
At the onset of the offseason, trading Masataka Yoshida would have been scoffed at as a dubious prospect.
However, just after the new year, reports emerged that although the Red Sox were not "actively shopping" Yoshida, they were open to ways to restructure the outfield. Boston had already undergone some offseason outfield reconstruction, trading Alex Verdugo to the archrival Yankees on Dec. 5, and acquiring Tyler O'Neill in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals a few days later. O'Neill has played the overwhelming majority of his career in left field, which is also notably Yoshida's preferred position. As the 2023 season progressed, manager Alex Cora showed a clear preference to utilize Yoshida in a DH role.
When Boston inked Yoshida to a 5-year, $90 million contract last offseason to bring the 30-year-old stateside, it was clear that the team was banking on him being a key contributor in the lineup for years to come. Yoshida's first MLB season was productive, as he was a consistent presence at cleanup for the Red Sox and finished fifth in the American League and 13th in all of baseball in batting average.
Also worth noting is that Yoshida was signed by former chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, so an x-factor could definitely be how Craig Breslow and the new regime rates the Japanese left-handed hitter.
A Yoshida trade hasn't gained much traction since the initial reports, but given Boston's aversion to spending, offloading the outfielder's $18.6 million salary due (third-highest on the team) in 2024 be a means to that end.