BOSTON — Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom continued his quest to bolster his team 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 named player 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 in the last two seasons. With rule changes coming into effect this season that should increase stolen bases, a player like Mondesi seems to be more valuable if he can stay healthy.
“In terms of the talent, the athleticism that he has, he really was the highest level of anyone who 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, ending his season. Bloom said Mondesi will fly from the Dominican Republic to Fort Myers, Fla., later this week to continue his rehabilitation under the watch of the Boston medical staff.
“Our expectation is that it may be delayed a bit to start the season, but Opening Day is still a possibility. And with an athlete like this, I wouldn’t rule it out,” said Bloom.
Bloom said that’s still the plan, especially as Mondesi fights back from his latest injury.
“We really liked the upside of this opportunity, we thought it made sense,” Bloom said. “Whether he’s on time or not, we’re expecting him to contribute for most of the year. But as far as how we look at our shortstop situation, that doesn’t change anything about where we’re going and the opportunity in front of Kiké.
“When Adalberto is back, we know because of his record — I don’t think we want to put too much on him — he will be part of the mix. We get him on the right track. We take care of him, and him 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 before Spring Training.
In his career, Mondesi started 241 games at shortstop, 64 games at second and 20 at third base. Although Hernández has made just 64 starts at short compared to 187 at second, Bloom recently said the veteran is a plus defender wherever he plays. Cora speculated on how Hernández’s quickness would play at shortstop.
For the past two seasons, Hernández has been Boston’s primary center fielder. But after the departure of Xander Bogaerts through free agency and Trevor Story undergoing right elbow surgery that will keep him out indefinitely, the Sox contemplated moving Hernández back to the infield.
Contemplation turned to reality after the Sox signed free agent slugger 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 enjoys playing the game at a faster pace.
The son of former MLB outfielder Raul Mondesi, Adalberto was plagued by injuries throughout his career, playing 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 famously making his MLB debut for Kansas City in the 2015 World Series, Mondesi posted a lifetime .244/.280/.408 slash with 38 homers and 133 stolen bases in the big leagues.
“In terms of how he looks at what he can do, he’s an awesome defender, he can run, he’s got the power,” Bloom said. “Obviously, the inconsistency of the opportunities he got probably had something to do with why he wasn’t able to utilize those tools consistently at the plate. But everything is there.
“He shows you everything you’d ever want to see from a Major League player, and he’s truly one of the best athletes to play at the big league level in recent years. So we’re excited to get him in the organization, excited to finish this rehab, get him on the right track, and he’s got the upside to really, really impact us.”
Thomas Harrigan contributed to this story.