Red Sox acquire infielder Adalberto Mondesi and a player who would later be named Royals, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter link). Boston will send a left-handed reliever Josh Taylor in Kansas City in the trade. university Mike Rodriguez first reported that the two parties were approaching a trade involving Mondesi.
At Mondesi, Boston acquires a hugely talented 27-year-old infielder — but also one of MLB’s most frequently injured players in recent seasons. Dating back to the 2018 season, Mondesi has only appeared in 40% of the Royals’ possible games, missing time due to a right shoulder impingement, a sprained groin, a pair of left shoulder subluxations, a sprained left hamstring, an oblique sprain and, most recently, a torn ACL which wiped out his 2022 season. The left shoulder injury and torn ACL have required surgical intervention.
It’s an impressive injury list for Mondesi, but nonetheless it’s hard not to be wowed by Mondesi’s mix of power, speed and defense. In 1,366 Major League table appearances, Mondesi has 38 homers, 54 doubles, 20 triples and 133 stolen bases. He also had 23 over-average strikeouts and a 13.3 ultimate zone rating in 2,126 career innings at shortstop.
Beyond injuries, this combination of raw skill is also undermined by an aggressive approach and sub-par bat-to-ball skill that regularly leads to below-average OBPs. Mondesi has stoked 30.2 percent of his plate appearances to just 4.4 percent walk rate, and he’s a career .244/.280/.408 hitter in the majors. This includes an approximate .140/.204/.140 spawn in 2022, although this came in a small sample of just 54 plate spawns.
Mondesi has wowed scouts, fans and evaluators for years, 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 only acquire one year of his service, as despite struggling to stay on the pitch, Mondesi has racked up more than five years of service in the Major League thanks to his various spells on the injured list. He and the Royals avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.045 million salary in December.
Boston’s need for an intermediate assist has skyrocketed in the offseason, with Xander Bogaerts heading to the Padres via free agency and Trevor’s Story now sidelined for at least a significant part of the 2023 campaign following internal splint surgery on his right elbow. Boston signed Adam Duval play in the center of the field, thus pushing Enrique Hernandez in the middle of the infield. With Mondesi now on board, he can probably handle the bulk of the workload at shortstop, when healthy, while Hernandez slides to second base. Christian Arroyo remains on hand as a utility option who could play regular second base, should Hernandez move to shortstop if Mondesi is injured.