The Boston Red Sox on Tuesday traded shortstop Adalberto Mondesi from the Kansas City Royals for left-handed reliever Josh Taylor, providing depth in the middle infield to shore up losses this winter to free agency and injuries.
The Red Sox will also receive a player to be named or cash considerations as part of the deal.
The 27-year-old Mondesi, whose star-level tools made him a top prospect but whose inability to stay healthy has limited him to 358 games in seven seasons, is recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee. Boston lost shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres and second baseman Trevor Story to internal bracing surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, leaving a significant void in the middle infield.
Enrique Hernandez, who has played center field for the Red Sox over the past two seasons, is expected to take over at shortstop, where he has played in 100 career games. Mondesi has spent most of his career at shortstop, although he has tried second and third base in the past. He will make $3.045 million this season.
Kansas City once viewed Mondesi as a foundational player in its rebuild, and he saw parts of the 2018 and 2019 seasons where he hit for power and stole 75 bases with his elite speed. For him to be packaged with a player to be named later and return just one reliever illustrates how far Mondesi’s stock has fallen. Over his seven seasons, Mondesi’s career line is .244/.280/.408 with 38 home runs and 133 stolen bases.
Taylor, 29, has been effective in his two full seasons with the Red Sox, but missed all of 2022 with a back injury. In 2021, he struck out 60 in 47⅔ innings, walked 23 and allowed just two home runs. Taylor, who has thrown several bullpen sessions recently and is expected to be healthy in time for spring training, will join Aroldis Chapman — who recently signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal — Amir Garrett and perhaps Angel Zerpa as left-handers in the Royals’ bullpen.
Kansas City may not be done shopping, either. Earlier this week, it traded center fielder Michael A. Taylor to Minnesota, and sources told ESPN that the Royals have spoken with teams about reliever Hunter Dozier — who is owed $17.25 million over the next two seasons — and infielder Nicky Lopez, who had a WAR of 4.2 in 2021.