BOSTON — Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom continued his quest to make his team stronger up the middle by acquiring talented but oft-injured infielder Adalberto Mondesi in a trade with the Royals on Tuesday.
In exchange, the Red Sox sent lefty reliever Josh Taylor — also a player with a history of injury issues — 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, which ended his season. It typically takes an athlete about nine months to return from a torn ACL injury, putting 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. Though Hernández has made only 64 starts at short compared to 187 at second, Bloom recently said 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 last two seasons, Hernández was Boston’s primary center fielder. But after the departure of Xander Bogaerts via free agency 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 free-agent slugger Adam Duvall to play center field. Hernández said a few days ago that he prefers playing the infield, because he enjoys playing the game at a faster pace.
The addition of Duvall for one year at $7 million isn’t official because the deal is pending a physical. But the position-player alignment is at last coming into focus for Cora.
The lineup could look something like this:
Masataka Yoshida, LF
Kiké 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 off the bench. Corner infielder Bobby Dalbec and outfielder Jarren Duran will also be fighting for roster spots.
The son of former MLB outfielder Raul Mondesi, Adalberto has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, playing just 358 games while appearing in parts of seven seasons, all with the Royals. He’ll be eligible to become a free agent after the 2023 season. After famously making his MLB debut for Kansas City in the 2015 World Series, Mondesi has posted a lifetime .244/.280/.408 slash with 38 homers and 133 stolen bases in the big leagues.
Taylor was a dominant left-on-left pitcher for the Red Sox in 2021, but didn’t pitch in the Majors at all 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 will turn 30 on March 2, is controllable through 2025.
Thomas Harrigan contributed to this story.