The Red Sox acquired some much-needed infield depth up the middle, acquiring Adalberto Mondesí and a player to be named in a trade with the Royals, the team announced Tuesday. Pitcher Josh Taylor is headed to Kansas City.
Mondesí, 27, can play either shortstop or second base. He is still recovering from an ACL tear, and could potentially miss Opening Day.
While the addition of Mondesí offers the Red Sox flexibility up the middle and in center field, his starting at either short or second is a far stretch.
“In terms of the talent, the athleticism that he has, it’s really top of the scale, I think, of anyone who has played big league baseball,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said.
The Sox could use Christian Arroyo, Mondesí, and Adam Duvall for two spots, with Kiké Hernández’s flexibility allowing them to either sit Duvall and have Arroyo and Mondesí up the middle, or sit Mondesí and have Hernández at shortstop, Arroyo at second, and Duvall in center.
While Mondesí is an elite defensive shortstop he comes to the Red Sox with a light bat, carrying a .244/.280/.408 slash line with a .687 OPS in parts of seven seasons.
Nevertheless, his defense offers the Red Sox a run-prevention option while shortstop Trevor Story recovers from elbow surgery. Speed is a large component of Mondesí's game and could benefit the Red Sox. He has 133 stolen bases in 159 attempts.
When manager Alex Cora returned from his suspension in 2021, he noted that he thought the league was becoming faster and thought the Red Sox could get faster and more athletic. Story added that for the Sox but played in just 94 games last season.
Mondesí made his major league debut in the 2015 World Series and has played in 358 regular-season games, all with the Royals. He has made 241 starts at shortstop, as well as 64 at second base, 20 at third, and seven as the designated hitter.
“Just in terms of looking at what he can do, I mean, awesome defender,” Bloom said. “He can run. He has power. Obviously the inconsistency of the opportunities has probably played into why he hasn’t been able to tap into those tools consistently at the plate, but it’s all there.”
The Sox could still be in the market for another middle infielder, Bloom said.
Mondesí played 76 consecutive errorless games at shortstop, a Royals franchise record. In 2022, he appeared in the Royals’ first 15 games but missed the remainder of the season with an ACL tear in his left knee.
Taylor, 29, was on the injured list for the entire 2022 season. He made eight rehab appearances (four starts) for Triple A Worcester and five (three starts) for Double A Portland. The lefthander had a 3.69 ERA with 129 strikeouts in 121 outings (one start) for the Red Sox from 2019-21.