The Red Sox are acquiring infielder Adalberto Mondesi and a player to be named later from the Royals, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter link). Boston will send lefty reliever Josh Taylor to Kansas City in the trade. Univision’s Mike Rodriguez first reported that the two sides were getting close to a trade involving Mondesi.
In Mondesi, Boston is acquiring an immensely talented 27-year-old infielder — but also one of the most frequently injured players in MLB over the past few seasons. Dating back to the 2018 season, Mondesi has appeared in only 40% of the Royals’ possible games, missing time due to a right shoulder impingement, a groin strain, a pair of left shoulder subluxations, a left hamstring strain, an oblique strain and, most recently, a torn ACL that wiped out his 2022 season. Both the left shoulder injury and ACL tear required surgery.
It’s a daunting list of injuries for Mondesi, but it’s nevertheless difficult not to be enticed by Mondesi’s blend of power, speed and defense. In 1366 Major League plate appearances, Mondesi has 38 home runs, 54 doubles, 20 triples and 133 stolen bases. He’s also amassed 23 Outs Above Average and a 13.3 Ultimate Zone Rating in 2126 career innings at shortstop.
Beyond the injuries, that combination of raw skills is also undercut by an aggressive approach and sub-par bat-to-ball skills that regularly lead to sub-par OBPs. Mondesi has fanned in 30.2% of his plate appearances against just a 4.4% walk rate, and he’s a career .244/.280/.408 hitter in the big leagues. That includes a rough .140/.204/.140 showing in 2022, though that came in a tiny sample of just 54 plate appearances.
Mondesi has tantalized scouts, fans and evaluators for years now, but the Red Sox will be the first team other than the Royals to try to both keep Mondesi healthy and maximize the return on those raw tools. They’re only acquiring a year of his services, as despite his struggles to remain on the field, Mondesi has racked up over five years of Major League service time through his various stints on the injured list. He and the Royals avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.045MM salary back in December.
Boston’s need for up-the-middle help has skyrocketed over the offseason, with Xander Bogaerts heading to the Padres via free agency and Trevor Story now sidelined for at least a significant portion of the 2023 campaign following internal brace surgery in his right elbow. Boston signed Adam Duvall to play center field, thereby pushing Enrique Hernandez to the middle infield. With Mondesi now on board, he can likely handle the bulk of the workload at shortstop, when healthy, while Hernandez slides over to second base. Christian Arroyo remains on hand as a utility option who could play second base regularly, should Hernandez need to slide over to shortstop in the event of a Mondesi injury.
More to come.