4. Masataka Yoshida Might Be a Bust
Boston's signing of Yoshida last offseason was one of the most polarizing Red Sox signings in recent memory. On the one hand, scouts talked about how much they loved his contact skills and ability to control the strike zone. On the other hand, some evaluators questioned his power and defense, warning that Boston had grossly overpaid him.
Based on Yoshida's rookie season, this might not end up being a good contract for the Red Sox, who still owe him $18.6 million per season for the next four years.
Yoshida was essentially a rich man's Alex Verdugo in 2023. He hit for a good average (.289) with a bit of pop (15 homers), but his fielding and baserunning left a lot to be desired. Yoshida was pretty brutal in left field despite not having much ground to cover with the Green Monster behind him.
Critics are already calling for Yoshida to move to DH, but that may not be possible with so many internal candidates on the roster.
What's more alarming is how quickly Yoshida tailed off in the second half. Whether it was just fatigue setting in towards the end of his first MLB season or the league adjusting to him, Yoshida hit a wall in late July. He batted just .244/.270/.357 over his final 57 games.
Yoshida's already 30, so there's a chance he could already be declining. If he isn't yet, he probably will soon. While his rookie season was solid, he still has a lot to prove next year if he wants to stay in Boston for the foreseeable future.