BOSTON — Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Blum continued his quest to bolster the team by acquiring talented but often injured shortstop Adalberto Mondesi in a trade with the Royals on Tuesday.
In response, the Red Sox sent lefty Josh Taylor, who had been struggling with injury, to Kansas City. The Red Sox will also receive a designated player or cash as part of the trade.
Mondesi led the Majors in triples (10) and 20th in stolen bases (24) for the Red Sox in 2019, but hasn’t pitched much the past two seasons. With rule changes coming this offseason to increase stolen bases, a player like Mondesi would be more valuable if he could stay healthy.
“His talent and his athleticism, it was truly the best of anyone to play big league baseball,” Bloom said. “Obviously he’s had a tough time with injuries over the years.”
Mondesi tore his left ACL on April 26, 2022, ending his season. Bloom said Mondesi will fly from the Dominican Republic to Fort Myers, Fla., later this week to continue rehab under the supervision of Boston hospital staff.
“Our expectation is that he might be a little late to start the season, but he’s still a possibility on Opening Day. With an athlete like that, I wouldn’t rule it out,” Bloom said.
Bloom said that’s still the plan, especially since Mondesi is coming back from his latest injury.
“We really liked the upside of this opportunity and thought it made sense,” Bloom said. “Whether he’s on time or not, we expect him to contribute for most of the year. But the way we look at our shortstop situation, it doesn’t change anything about where we’re going and the chances of getting in front of Kike.
“When Adalberto comes back, I don’t think we want to focus too much on him, given his success – he’ll be part of the mix. We’ll bring him in the right way. We’ll take care of him, and being part of that mix will help make it easier to care for.”
Cristian Arroyo will also be a key component in Boston’s middle infield, and Bloom didn’t rule out the Red Sox adding more depth ahead of spring training.
During his career, Mondesi started 241 games at shortstop, 64 games at second and 20 games at third. Although Hernandez has 187 snaps in 64 starts, Blum recently said the veteran is a defender wherever he plays. Cora Hernandez’s first step speed compliments how he plays shortstop.
Hernandez has been Boston’s starting center fielder for the past two seasons. But after Xander Bogaerts left as a free agent, Trevor Story underwent surgery on his right elbow that kept him out indefinitely, so the Sox considered returning Hernandez to the field.
Thoughts turned into reality on Tuesday after the Sox signed free agent Adam Duvall to a one-year, $7 million contract to play center field. A few days ago, Hernandez said that he prefers to play the game indoors because he likes to play the game at a faster pace.
Adalberto, the son of former MLB outfielder Raul Mondesi, has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, appearing in just 358 games in 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 hit .244/.280/.408 with 38 homers and 133 stolen bases in the big leagues.
“When you see what he can do, he’s a great quarterback, he can run, he’s got strength,” Bloom said. “Obviously, the inconsistency in the opportunities he’s had has probably contributed to why he hasn’t consistently used those tools. But everything is there.
“He’s going to show everything you want to see in a major league player, he’s really one of the best athletes to play in the big leagues in years. So we’re excited to get him in the organization, get him finished with this rehab and get him back on track, he’s going to give us has the advantage of being really, really influential.”
Thomas Harrigan contributed to this story.