How does Adalberto Mondesi trade affect Red Sox infield picture?

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 23: Adalberto Mondesi #27 of the Kansas City Royals at bat against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on April 23, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 23: Adalberto Mondesi #27 of the Kansas City Royals at bat against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on April 23, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Red Sox made a trade with the Royals for an infielder

The Boston Red Sox bolstered their infield depth by acquiring Adalberto Mondesí from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for left-handed reliever Josh Taylor, according to’s Mark Feinsand. Boston will also receive a player to be named later in the deal.

Mondesí was limited to 15 games last season after tearing his ACL in May. He hit a meager .140 with a .344 OPS in a small sample size of only 50 at-bats.

The top prospect in the Royals farm system prior to breaking into the big leagues in 2016, Mondesí is a toolsy player with plenty of talent but he’s struggled to stay on the field long enough to live up to his potential. Mondesí has only one season under his belt in which he’s appeared in more than 75 games. That was in 2019 when he led the league with 10 triples and stole 43 bases in 102 games for the Royals.

While his limited production last season was extremely underwhelming, Mondesí was close to being a league-average hitter with an OPS+ of at least 90 in each of the previous two seasons. He won’t add much pop to the lineup but he has the speed to extend hits into extra bases.

Speed is an element the Red Sox have been severely lacking in recent years but Mondesí offers an upgrade in that department. In addition to his career-high 43 steals in 2019, he led the league with 24 steals during the shortened 2020 season. Mondesí ranked in the 98th percentile in sprint speed from 2018-2020, per Baseball Savant.

Perhaps his most important tool is his defensive versatility. Mondesí has spent most of his career covering the middle infield positions. The Red Sox need a shortstop to replace Xander Bogaerts and a second baseman to fill in for the injured Trevor Story. The expectation is that Kiké Hernández will fill one of those positions while the freshly signed Adam Duvall takes his place in center field. Mondesí will be in the mix for the other infield position, along with Christian Arroyo.

Mondesí brings an excellent glove to the infield. He has 9 defensive runs saved at shortstop since 2019 and his 20 outs above average ranks 10th in the majors at the position over the last four seasons (minimum 250 attempts). He hasn’t logged time at second base since 2018 but he produced 3 defensive runs saved and 4 outs above average in only 12 games at the position that year.

Earlier this offseason, Mondesí reached an agreement with the Royals on a one-year, $3.405 million deal to avoid arbitration. The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Taylor by agreeing to a one-year, $1.025 million deal, so the trade adds a little under $2.3 million to Boston’s 2023 payroll. That brings the Red Sox payroll to approximately $223.87 million, giving them about $9 million to work with while staying beneath the first threshold of the luxury tax.

Mondesí needs to prove that he resemble an average hitter rather than a liability and that the knee surgery he underwent last year hasn’t severely diminished his speed. Considering his injury history and shaky offensive production, we shouldn’t project him to be handed an everyday role, but he will get the opportunity to compete for playing time.

We shouldn’t view this trade as the answer for replacing Bogaerts. That wasn’t the point, since nobody who was available could replace what Xander meant to this team. Mondesí is potentially a piece of the puzzle as the Red Sox work to patch together their infield.

Assuming he can return to form and stay healthy, Mondesí, at the very least, can be an asset with his defense and on the base paths. He’s only 27 years old, so it’s too soon to write him off. If he can rediscover the potential that once made him a top prospect, the Red Sox may have found themselves a diamond in the rough.

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