BOSTON – Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom continued his quest to bolster his team up the middle by acquiring talented but oft-injured infielder Adalberto Mondesi in a trade with the Royals on Tuesday.
In return, the Red Sox sent lefty reliever Josh Taylor – also a player with a history of injury problems – to Kansas City. The Red Sox will also get a player to be named or cash considerations as part of the exchange.
In Mondesi, the Red Sox get a player who led the Majors in triples (10) in 2019 and stolen bases (24) in ’20 but hasn’t been on the field much the past two seasons. With rule changes coming into play this season that should increase stolen bases, a player like Mondesi figures to be more valuable if he can stay healthy.
Mondesi tore his left ACL on April 26, 2022, ending his season. It typically takes an athlete about nine months to return from a torn ACL injury, which puts Mondesi on target to be ready for spring training.
In his career, Mondesi has started 241 games at short, 64 games at second and 20 at third base. Although Hernández has made just 64 starts at shortstop compared to 187 at second base, Bloom said recently that the veteran is a plus defender wherever he plays. Cora raved about how Hernández’s first-step quickness would play at shortstop.
For the past two seasons, Hernández was Boston’s primary center fielder. But after Xander Bogaerts’ free-agent departure and Trevor Story undergoing right elbow surgery that will keep him out indefinitely, the Sox decided to move Hernández back to the infield while agreeing to a deal with the free-agent slugger Adam Duvall on playing midfield. . Hernández said a few days ago that he prefers to play inside because he enjoys playing the game at a faster pace.
The addition of Duvall for one year at $7 million is not official because the deal is pending a physical. But the positioning of players is finally coming into focus for Cora.
The lineup could look like this:
Masataka Yoshida, LF
Kiké Hernández, SS-2B
Rafael Devers, 3B
Justin Turner, DH
Alex Verdugo, RF
Adam Duvall, CF
Triston Houses, 1B
Adalberto Mondesi, SS-2B
Reese McGuire, C
Rover Christian Arroyo, outfielder Rob Refsnyder and Connor Wong would be available off the bench. Corner infielder Bobby Dalbec and outfielder Jarren Duran will also battle for roster spots.
Adalberto, the son of former MLB outfielder Raul Mondesi, has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, playing in just 358 games while appearing in parts of seven seasons, all with the Royals. He will be eligible to become a free agent after the 2023 season. After making his MLB debut for Kansas City in the 2015 World Series, Mondesi has hit a lifetime .244/.280/.408 with 38 homers and 133 stolen bases in the big leagues.
Taylor was a dominant lefty-to-lefty pitcher for the Red Sox in 2021, but didn’t pitch at all in the Majors in ’22 due to a back injury. He has a 3.69 ERA with 129 K’s in 102 1/3 innings spanning 121 appearances (one start) for the Red Sox over three seasons (2019-21). The southpaw, who turns 30 on March 2, is controllable until 2025.
Thomas Harrigan contributed to this story.