BOSTON — Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom continued his effort to bolster his team up the middle by acquiring talented but oft-injured outfielder 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 problems — to Kansas City. The Red Sox will also receive a named player or cash consideration 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 past two seasons gone. With rule changes coming this season that should increase stolen bases, a player like Mondesi will prove to be more valuable if he can stay healthy.
“In terms of his talent, his athleticism, he’s really been at the top level of anybody that plays big league baseball,” Bloom said. “Obviously, he’s had a tough time over the years with injuries.”
Mondesi tore his left ACL on April 26, 2022, which ended his season. Bloom said Mondesi will fly from the Dominican Republic to Fort Myers, Fla., later this week to continue his rehabilitation under the supervision of Boston’s medical staff.
“We anticipate that the start of the season may be slightly delayed, but Opening Day is still possible. And with an athlete like this, I wouldn’t rule it out,” Bloom said.
Bloom said that remains the plan, especially since Mondesi is fighting back from his latest injury.
“We really liked this opportunity, we thought it made sense,” Bloom said. “Whether it’s on time or not, we expect it to contribute to the -part of the year. But in terms of how we look at our shortstop position, it doesn’t change anything in terms of where we’re going and the opportunity in front of Kiké.
“When Adalberto is back, we know with his history – I don’t think we want to put too much on him – he will be part of the mix. Let’s get him on the right track. We take care of it, and being part of the mix makes it easier to take care of everyone. “
Christian Arroyo will also be a key part of Boston’s middle infield mix, and Bloom didn’t rule out the Red Sox adding more depth in Spring Training.
In his career, Mondesi has started 241 games at shortstop, 64 games at second and 20 at third base. Although Hernández only made 64 starts at shortstop compared to 187 at second base, Bloom said recently that the veteran is a positive defender wherever he plays. Cora complained about how Hernández’s first-pitch speed would play at shortstop.
For the last two seasons, Hernández was Boston’s primary center fielder. But after Xander Bogaerts left via free agency and Trevor Story underwent right elbow surgery that will keep him out indefinitely, the Sox planned to move Hernández back to the bullpen.
Reflections turned into reality after the Sox signed free agent Adam Duvall to play center field on a one-year, $7 million deal that became official Tuesday. Hernández said a few days ago that he prefers to play the infield, because he likes to play the game at a faster pace.
The son of former MLB outfielder Raul Mondesi, Adalberto has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, playing in just 358 games while appearing in parts of 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 has posted a lifetime slash of .244/.280/.408 with 38 homers and 133 stolen bases in the big leagues .
“Just looking at what he can do, he’s a tremendous defender, he can run, he’s got power,” Bloom said. “In fact, the inconsistency of the opportunities he’s gotten may be why he hasn’t been able to use those tools consistently at the plate. But it’s all there.
“He shows you everything you would want to see out of a Major League player, and he is truly one of the best athletes to play at the big league level in recent years. So we’re excited to have him in the group, excited to finish this rehab, get him on the right track, and he has the upside to make a big impact for us. “
Thomas Harrigan contributed to this story.