The Red Sox have finalized a pair of up-the-middle pickups this week, formally adding Adam Duvall on a one-year free agent deal to play center field and acquiring infielder Adalberto Mondesi from the Royals yesterday. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom met with reporters after announcing the trade with Kansas City and suggested the team was still open to acquiring middle infield help.
“We’d still love to add if the opportunities are there,” Bloom said (via Chris Cotillo of MassLive). That’s not too surprising, as the Boston baseball operations leader had previously indicated the club was open to three-plus additions after losing Trevor Story for most of the season after he underwent an internal brace procedure on his throwing elbow.
Mondesi himself is far from a sure thing. The switch-hitting infielder has spent time on the injured list in four of the last five seasons, and he’s coming off an ACL tear that ended his 2022 campaign 15 games in. That injury — which required surgery — occurred roughly nine months ago. Bloom noted that Mondesi’s rehab “still has a ways to go” and suggested it’s possible he’s behind schedule heading into the season. The 27-year-old infielder might yet be ready for Opening Day but that doesn’t seem a certainty.
Even once Mondesi is healthy, it seems he might have a clearer path to reps at second base than at shortstop. Bloom indicated that Enrique Hernández remains the club’s top in-house shortstop (relayed by Ian Browne of MLB.com). That’d presumably leave Mondesi at the keystone on most days, which would push Christian Arroyo into a utility capacity.
Hernández only has 618 innings at shortstop over parts of nine big league campaigns. Public defensive metrics have mostly rated him as a solid or better gloveman in that look. He’s typically registered plus defensive grades at second base and in center field over more extended bodies of work, and Boston brass is clearly confident he’s athletic enough to shoulder a heavier shortstop workload.
If the Sox were to go outside the organization for help, they’d likely be looking at depth pickups. Elvis Andrus remains the top unsigned shortstop. Josh Harrison is probably the next-best free agent middle infielder, with José Iglesias, Jonathan Villar and Rougned Odor also in the mix. Players like Tony Kemp, Nick Madrigal or Nicky Lopez might still be attainable on the trade front, although it’s possible the Boston front office doesn’t find anyone in that group enough of an upgrade over the in-house possibilities to open discussions.