BOSTON – Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom continued his quest to make his team stronger at center by acquiring talented but oft-injured infielder Adalberto Mondesi on Tuesday in a trade with the Royals.
In return, the Red Sox sent left reliever Josh Taylor – also a player with a history of injury problems – to Kansas City. The Red Sox also get a player’s name or money as part of the exchange.
In Mondesi, the Red Sox get a player who led the Majors in triples (10) in 2019 and stole bases (24) in ’20, but hasn’t been on the field much in the last two seasons. With rule changes coming into play this season that should increase the number of stolen bases, a player like Mondesi believes he is more valuable if he can stay healthy.
Mondesi tore his left ACL on April 26, 2022, ending his season. It typically takes about nine months for an athlete to recover from a torn ACL injury, putting Mondesi on track 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. While Hernández has only made 64 short starts compared to 187 in second place, Bloom recently said the veteran is a good defender wherever he plays. Cora was thrilled with how Hernández’s speed on the first step would work on a shortstop.
For the past two seasons, Hernández has been Boston’s leading midfielder. But after the departure of Xander Bogaerts via free agency and Trevor Story undergoing surgery on his right elbow that will keep him out indefinitely, the Sox decided to move Hernández back to the infield while agreeing to a deal with free agent slugger Adam Duvall to play center field. . Hernández said a few days ago that he prefers to play in the infield because he likes to play the game at a faster pace.
Duvall’s one-year addition for $7 million is unofficial as the deal is pending a physical. But player positioning finally comes into focus for Cora.
The lineup could look something like this:
Masataka Yoshida, LF
Kike Hernández, SS-2B
Rafael Devers, 3B
Justin Turner, DH
Alex Verdugo, RF
Adam Duvall, CF
Triston Casas, 1B
Adalberto Mondesi, SS-2B
Reese McGuire, C
Rover Christian Arroyo, outfielder Rob Refsnyder and Connor Wong would be available from the bench. Corner infielder Bobby Dalbec and outfielder Jarren Duran will also compete for roster spots.
Adalberto, the son of former MLB outfielder Raul Mondesi, has been plagued with injuries throughout his career. He only played 358 games while playing in parts of seven seasons, all with the Royals. He is eligible to become a free agent after the 2023 season. After making his famous MLB debut for Kansas City in the 2015 World Series, Mondesi has hit a lifetime .244/.280/.408 slash with 38 home runs and 133 stolen bases in the major leagues.
Taylor was a dominant left-on-left 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 across 121 appearances (one start) for the Red Sox over three seasons (2019-21). The southpaw, who turns 30 on March 2, is drivable until 2025.
Thomas Harrigan contributed to this story.