Red Sox acquire Adalberto Mondesi from Royals in exchange for Josh Taylor

The Red Sox have acquired infielder Adalberto Mondesi and a player to be named later or cash considerations from the Royals in exchange for left-handed reliever Josh Taylor, the club announced earlier Tuesday afternoon.

This is the second trade the Red Sox and Royals have made this winter, as Boston previously sent pitching prospect Jacob Wallace to Kansas City for reliever Wyatt Mills last month.

Unlike that trade, though, Tuesday’s deal represents a swap of two major-league caliber players who are both coming off injury-plagued 2022 seasons. Mondesi was limited to just 15 games with the Royals last year before suffering a torn left ACL in late April that ultimately required season-ending surgery. Taylor, on the other hand, did not pitch at all for the Red Sox due to complications from a low back strain.

Mondesi, 27, is the son of former big-league outfielder Raul Mondesi. The Dominican Republic native originally signed with the Royals as an international free agent coming out of San Cristobal in July 2011. He was regarded as one of the top prospects in Kansas City’s farm system before becoming the first player in MLB history to make his debut during the World Series in 2015.

In parts of seven seasons with the Royals, Mondesi was limited to just 358 total games. He was handed down a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs as a rookie in 2016 and has since been hindered by injuries. In 2018, for instance, Mondesi missed time with a right shoulder impingement. The following year, he was sidelined with a groin strain and left shoulder subluxation. After avoiding the injured list completely during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, Mondesi was hampered by a left hamstring strain and strained left oblique.

When healthy, though, Mondesi has been able to put his tools on full display. The switch-hitter owns a career .244/.280/.408 slash line to go along with 54 doubles, 20 triples, 38 home runs, 157 RBIs, 180 runs scored, 133 stolen bases, 60 walks, and 412 strikeouts across 1,366 big-league plate appearances. As far as speed is concerned, he led all of baseball with 10 triples and stole a career-best 43 bases in 2019, then led the American League with 24 steals in 2020. Prior to tearing his left ACL last April, Mondesi went 7-for-50 (.140) at the plate with three RBIs, three runs scored, five stolen bases, four walks, and 20 strikeouts in his first 15 games of the year.

Defensively, Mondesi has past experience at every infield position besides first base. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder saw the majority of his playing time in Kansas City come at shortstop, where he accrued 23 outs above average and an ultimate zone rating of 13.3 over 2,126 career innings.

Mondesi, who turns 28 in July, will earn $3.045 million in 2023 after agreeing to a deal with the Royals to avoid arbitration last month. He is currently slated to become a free agent for the first time in his career next winter. In the meantime, Mondesi figures to provide the Red Sox with versatile infield depth since he can play all over the diamond and hits from both sides of the plate.

With Trevor Story expected to be sidelined well into the 2023 season after undergoing right elbow surgery, Enrique Hernandez will step in as the club’s starting shortstop while Christian Arroyo will handle things at second base. Mondesi, meanwhile, can handle both positions in place of Hernandez and Arroyo depending on other factors such as infield/outfield alignments and pitching matchups.

The Red Sox were able to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for Mondesi by trading away Taylor, who they originally acquired from the Diamondbacks as the player to be named later in the March 2018 trade that sent infielder Deven Marrero to Arizona.

Taylor first broke in with Boston in May 2019 and impressed as a rookie by forging a 3.04 ERA in 52 appearances (47 1/3 innings) out of the bullpen. The southpaw was then limited to just eight outings in 2020 due to a bout with COVID-19 and left shoulder tendinitis, but he bounced back in 2021 by posting a 3.40 ERA (2.83 FIP) with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 61 relief appearances spanning 47 2/3 innings of work.

Despite those strong results, Taylor first began experiencing back issues towards the tail end of the 2021 campaign. As a result, he began the 2022 season on the injured list and never got healthy enough to return to the Red Sox. He made a total of eight rehab outings between Triple-A Worcester and Double-A Portland, but was shut down from throwing in mid-July.

Taylor was still tendered a contract in November, but he clearly became expandable for the Red Sox on account of his inability to stay on the mound as of late. The 29-year-old will earn a salary of $1.025 million with the Royals in 2023 and will not be eligible for free agency until the end of the 2025 season.

(Picture of Adalberto Mondesi: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox avoid arbitration with five remaining eligible players, including Christian Arroyo and Alex Verdugo

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with their five remaining arbitration-eligible players ahead of Friday’s deadline to exchange figures.

Boston came to terms with right-handers Nick Pivetta and Ryan Brasier, catcher Reese McGuire, infielder Christian Arroyo, and outfielder Alex Verdugo on Friday after previously agreeing to deals with left-hander Josh Taylor, outfielder Rob Refsnyder, and third baseman Rafael Devers.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox will pay Pivetta $6.3 million, Brasier $2 million, McGuire $1.225 million, Arroyo $2 million, and Verdugo $6.3 million. As has already been reported, Taylor will receive a salary of $1.025 million, Refsnyder a salary of $1.2 million, and Devers a salary of $17.5 million in 2023.

The Red Sox came into the offseason with 11 arbitration-eligible players in total, but they whittled that number down to eight by cutting ties with Abraham Almonte in October and non-tendering Franchy Cordero and Yu Chang in December.

Devers earned a 56.3 percent raise after taking home $11.2 million in 2022. The 26-year-old, of course, has since signed a 10-year, $313.5 million extension that begins in 2024 and runs through the end of the 2033 season.

Verdugo’s pay was bumped by 75.5 percent after he made $3.55 million last year while Pivetta’s increased by 101.9 percent after he earned $2.65 million. Both Verdugo and Pivetta are currently slated to become free agents for the first time at the conclusion of the 2024 campaign.

Brasier will receive a 42.9 percent raise after earning $1.4 million in 2022. The veteran reliever is entering his final year of club control and will be eligible for free agency next winter. Arroyo will see his salary increase by 66.7 percent as he, like Verdugo and Pivetta, is two years away from hitting the open market.

McGuire, who was acquired from the White Sox last August, will make $1.225 million in 2023. That represents a 69.6 percent raise from the $722,000 salary he received as a pre-arbitration-eligible player in 2022. McGuire and Taylor are both controllable through 2025 while Refsnyder is controllable through 2024.

All told, the Red Sox ended up committing $36.6 million to their eight arbitration-eligible players for this coming season. This marks the second straight year in which they avoided having to take anyone to an arbitration hearing as well.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo and Alex Verdugo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Josh Taylor avoid arbitration by agreeing to $1.025 million deal for 2023 season

The Red Sox and left-hander Josh Taylor have agreed to terms on a one-year contract for the 2023 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration, the club announced earlier Thursday afternoon. The deal is worth $1.025 million, per Robert Murray of FanSided.

Taylor, who turns 30 in March, did not appear in a game at the major-league level in 2022 due to a low back strain that dates back to the end of the 2021 regular season. The 29-year-old was sent out on several minor-league rehab assignments, but he struggled to a 6.00 ERA in 13 outings (12 innings) between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester before being shut down from throwing in mid-July.

It was certainly a disappointing development for Taylor, as the lefty was coming off an impressive 2021 campaign in which he posted a 3.40 ERA and 2.83 FIP with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 61 relief appearances spanning 47 2/3 innings of work. His 34 percent whiff rate ranked in the 92nd percentile of all big-league pitchers that year.

Despite spending the entirety of the 2022 season on the injured list, the Red Sox still tendered Taylor a contract in November. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound southpaw is entering his second season of arbitration eligibility and will receive the exact same salary ($1.025 million) in 2023 as he did last year. He is currently slated to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2025 campaign.

If healthy come Opening Day, Taylor figures to join free agent addition Joely Rodriguez as the two primary left-handed relievers available for Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen to start the season.

With Taylor locked in for 2023, the Red Sox have five remaining players who are eligible for salary arbitration in right-handers Ryan Brasier and Nick Pivetta, catcher Reese McGuire, infielder Christian Arroyo, and outfielder Alex Verdugo. The deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to exchange salary figures is Friday.

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Christian Arroyo, Josh Taylor begin rehab assignments with Triple-A Worcester

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor and utility man Christian Arroyo began their rehab assignments with Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday night.

Taylor, serving as an opener for the WooSox in their contest against the Charlotte Knights, tossed a scoreless first inning and needed just seven pitches (five strikes) to do so.

The left-hander retired the only three batters he faced by getting Mark Payton to line out to center, a rehabbing Eloy Jimenez to ground out to short, and Carlos Perez to ground out to third. He was relieved by top pitching prospect Brayan Bello.

Taylor has spent the entirety of the season on the injured list because of a lower back strain that first started bothering him last September. He was initially sent out on a minor-league rehab assignment back in April, but suffered a setback and was shut down for weeks as a result.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off an exceptional 2021 campaign in which he posted a 3.40 ERA and 2.83 FIP with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 61 relief appearances spanning 47 2/3 innings of work.

Since the Red Sox transferred Taylor from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list on May 12, he does not currently count against Boston’s 40-man roster.

The same can be said for Arroyo, who was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on June 15 after testing positive for the virus. The 27-year-old served as Worcester’s designated hitter and went 0-fo-3 with a ground out, pop out, and fly out out of the leadoff spot before being pinch-hit for by Ronaldo Hernandez in the seventh inning.

Arroyo last suited up for the Red Sox on June 12 and is currently batting .187/.227/.319 with three home runs and 10 RBIs on the season. He will play the field for Worcester on Wednesday and could be activated for Friday’s series opener against the Guardians in Cleveland.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Jonathan Araúz from COVID-19 related injured list and option infielder to Triple-A Worcester; Josh Taylor transferred to 60-day injured list

The Red Sox have activated Jonathan Arauz from the COVID-19 related injured list and subsequently optioned the infielder to Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for Arauz on the 40-man roster, left-hander Josh Taylor was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list, the club announced Thursday afternoon.

Arauz was originally placed on the COVID-related injured list on April 19 after testing positive for the virus. It was not until May 1 when the 23-year-old was cleared to begin a rehab assignment with Worcester.

Prior to getting sick, Arauz had made the Sox’ Opening Day roster out of spring training and appeared in five games for the big-league club, going 0-for-7 at the plate with one RBI, one run scored, and two strikeouts. Since returning to action with the WooSox earlier this month, the versatile switch-hitter has batted .125/.222/.167 with one double, four runs scored, three walks, and three strikeouts across seven games spanning 27 trips to the plate.

Because he is on the 40-man roster and has the ability to be shuttled between Boston and Worcester, Arauz will undoubtedly be back with the Red Sox at some point this season.

Taylor, on the other hand, began the year on the injured list due to a low back strain that began bothering him last fall and has yet to pitch at the big-league level in 2022. After making three rehab appearances between Double-A Portland and Worcester last month, the 29-year-old southpaw suffered a setback and has since been shut down from throwing.

By being transferred to the 60-day injured list, Taylor cannot be activated until the first week of June at the earliest, though according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “the expectation is that he probably won’t be ready to be activated when he’s eligible.”

Following Thursday’s series of moves, the Red Sox now have 39 players on their 40-man roster on account of Rich Hill still being on the COVID IL himself. The expectation is that Hill will be activated this weekend, which would require the Sox to send his substitute in John Schreiber back to Worcester since he is not currently on the 40-man roster.

That being said, Schreiber has pitched well out of Boston’s bullpen and very well could remain with the team for the foreseeable future. For that to happen, though, the Sox would have to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for the righty, and they would likely do so by designating another player for assignment.

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Josh Taylor suffers setback while rehabbing from back strain

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor suffered a setback while rehabbing his back injury and has been temporarily shut down from throwing, manager Alex Cora announced before Tuesday’s game against the Angels at Fenway Park.

Taylor, who had been out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester, is back with the Red Sox to receive treatment and undergo tests in Boston.

When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Cotillo) on Tuesday, Cora revealed that Taylor’s back locked up on him recently, leaving the team with no choice but to return him from his rehab assignment.

“He had a setback a few days ago,” Cora said. “Feels better today, but of course, we had to take him off his rehab assignment. We’re going through testing and all that stuff. We’ll know more during the week.”

Taylor began the season on the 10-day injured list due to a low back strain that first began bothering him last September and was first sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester on April 17. The left-hander got the start for the WooSox against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park that afternoon and allowed one run (on a solo home run) in his lone inning of work. He was then shut down for the next six days after being identified as a close contact to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

On April 24, Taylor returned to the mound — this time for Double-A Portland — and once again served as an opener. The 29-year-old surrendered two runs on three hits and one strikeout while recording the first two outs of the Sea Dogs’ 13-5 win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies at Hadlock Field. Three days later, he was back in action for the WooSox and tossed a scoreless fifth inning in the second game of a doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons.

Since then, Taylor has not appeared in a game and is not close to doing so anytime soon. As noted by Cotillo, Cora previously said the hope was for Taylor to make five or six rehab outings before being activated, so the southpaw will presumably need to start from scratch once he is cleared to resume throwing.

“Let’s see how it goes in the upcoming days and how it goes with testing and all that stuff,” said Cora. “Then we’ll decide what we do with him.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor set to begin rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Sunday

The Red Sox bullpen could soon be receiving a boost. Josh Taylor is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Sunday, manager Alex Cora said ahead of Saturday’s game against the Twins at Fenway Park. The left-hander began the season on the 10-day injured list due to a low back strain.

“He threw a live BP yesterday and obviously we have to wait for today to see how he feels,” Cora said of Taylor. “But there’s a good chance his rehab assignment starts tomorrow.”

Cora added that Taylor will likely need five or six outings with the WooSox before being activated from the injured list. He is in line to make his 2022 debut in Worcester’s series finale against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park on Sunday afternoon.

Taylor, 29, is coming off a strong 2021 season in which he posted a 3.40 ERA and 2.83 FIP to go along with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 61 relief appearances spanning 47 2/3 innings of work.

The Arizona-born southpaw first experienced back discomfort last September and spent time on the injured list because of it. He returned in time for the postseason, but wound up receiving an epidural injection during the off-season.

Those back issues lingered into spring training, but Taylor is now at a point where he is ready to pitch in a game, as he explained to MLB.com’s Ian Browne on Saturday.

“I’m good. The body feels great,” Taylor said. “I had another live [batting practice] yesterday and bounced back well today. I don’t think I’ve had any setbacks. The body feels good. I have a rehab outing tomorrow in Worcester so that will be my first one and I’m looking forward to that. I definitely think I’m ready for that right now.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Should the Red Sox consider trading Austin Davis?

Seven games into the 2022 season, the two Red Sox relievers who are tied for the team lead in appearances with four apiece are Ryan Brasier and Austin Davis.

Both Brasier and Davis were used by manager Alex Cora out of the bullpen in Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Twins at Fenway Park. The former struck out the side in a scoreless seventh inning. The latter allowed two runners to reach base but also fanned three in a scoreless eighth inning.

In Davis’ case, the left-hander has now yielded three earned runs on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over his first three innings pitched this year.

Put another way, Davis has posted a 9.00 ERA, a 2.33 WHIP, an OPS against of .945, a strikeout rate of 29.4%, and a walk rate of 11.7% so far this season. Two of his four outings have been scoreless, though Friday’s performance was undoubtedly his best work to this point.

Of the 21 pitches Davis threw in Friday’s loss to Minnesota, 13 went for strikes. The 29-year-old southpaw induced a total of seven swings-and-misses; three on his slider and changeup and one on his four-seam fastball.

In regards to his four-seamer, Davis averaged 93.6 mph with the pitch across 26 1/3 innings between the Pirates and Red Sox in 2021. On Friday, he averaged 95.6 mph with his heater and topped out at 97 mph with it, per Baseball Savant. For his big-league career, which dates back to June 2018, Davis had only thrown a pitch 97 mph or faster on two separate occasions prior to Friday’s outing.

Since the Red Sox acquired Davis from the Pirates for infielder Michael Chavis last July, the lefty has been one of Cora’s more frequently-used relievers. From the time he debuted for Boston on July 31 of last season, Davis has now made 24 relief appearances for the Sox. The only other hurlers who have seen more action over that stretch are Adam Ottavino (24 appearances), who is no longer with the team, and Hansel Robles (30 appearances).

Despite a career ERA of 5.49 in a Red Sox uniform, it would appear as though the club likes what they have in Davis. With that being said, though, it is worth wondering if Davis’ spot in Boston’s bullpen could be on the line sometime in the near future.

As a result of a shortened spring training, major-league teams were permitted to carry 28 players on their active roster. This, for instance, allowed the Red Sox to carry 10 relievers on their Opening Day squad.

On May 2, however, teams will be required to trim their rosters back down to the traditional size of 26 active players. When that time comes, the Sox will have no other choice but to carry no more than 13 pitchers on their active roster.

The way things stand now, Davis is one of three lefties in Boston’s bullpen alongside the likes of Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm. Josh Taylor, who began the season on the injured list due to a low back strain, could be nearing a minor-league rehab assignment.

With Diekman and Strahm being new free-agent additions and Taylor already earning the trust of Cora last season, would the Red Sox still entertain the idea of carrying four left-handed relievers on their 26-man roster beginning next month?

If Davis is deemed the odd man out once rosters shrink and Taylor returns from the injured list, the Red Sox could not simply option him to Triple-A Worcester, for the Arizona native is out of minor-league options. Because of this, Boston would need to expose Davis to waivers if they wanted to retain his services as a non-40-man roster player in the minors.

Taking that into account and assuming that Taylor will be back before long, what would be stopping the Red Sox from trading Davis away for a prospect who is not on a 40-man roster at some point between now and May 2? Why risk losing Davis for nothing when you could get something back in return?

Under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, the Red Sox have made similar moves in the past, with the Yoan Aybar-for-Christian Koss swap probably sticking out the most. Davis, of course, is far more established than Aybar and could fetch an intriguing return since he is still under club control for three more seasons after 2022.

At the end of the day, do the Red Sox need to trade Davis? No. Even with Taylor on his way back, perhaps the club still believes Davis can play an important role out of the bullpen this season. If not, though, then perhaps it would be in Boston’s best interest to explore their options now before running into a roster crunch in a few weeks.

(Picture of Austin Davis: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox avoid arbitration with all eligible players, including Rafael Devers

The Red Sox have avoided arbitration with all five of their arbitration-eligible players heading into the 2022 season, the club announced on Tuesday.

Boston was able to come to terms with pitchers Nick Pivetta and Josh Taylor, infielders Christian Arroyo and Rafael Devers, and outfielder Alex Verdugo on Tuesday, thus avoiding a possible hearing. They did the same with reliever Ryan Brasier and catcher Kevin Plawecki prior to last November’s non-tender deadline.

Pivetta, 29, was entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $3.2 million in 2022. The right-hander will instead net $2.65 million this year, according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel.

Taylor, 29, was also entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLBTR to earn $1.1 million in 2022. The left-handed reliever may not be ready for the start of the season due to a back issue, but he will be making $1.025 million this year regardless, per McDaniel.

Arroyo is another first-year arbitration-eligible player. The 26-year-old second baseman was projected by MLBTR to also earn $1.1 million in 2022. He has instead avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.2 million salary for the upcoming season, according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam.

Devers is undoubtedly the most notable name on this list and the most expensive as well. As a second-year arbitration-eligible player, the 25-year-old All-Star was projected by MLBTR to earn $11.1 million in 2022 — representing a 143% raise from the $4.575 million he made in 2021.

There were some rumblings that Devers and the Red Sox were not going to come to an agreement on a salary figure for the 2022 season ahead of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. eastern time deadline and would instead be going to an arbitration hearing. Those concerns turned out to be premature, though, as the two sides have since settled on a $11.2 million salary for the year, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Finally, we arrive at Verdugo, who is also embarking upon his first season of arbitration eligibility. The 25-year-old was projected by MLBTR to earn $3.2 million in 2022 but will actually make a little more than that at $3.55 million, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

These agreements do not preclude the Red Sox from engaging in contract extension talks with any of the aforementioned players leading up to Opening Day on April 7. This is particularly prevalent for Devers, who can become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor unlikely to be ready for Opening Day due to back issue

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor may not be available for the start of the 2022 season due to back issue, manager Alex Cora revealed on Monday.

“The only guy that is behind pitching-wise is JT,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Monday morning. “He has a back issue. So he fell behind. Not sure how it works out for us for the start of the season but he’s one guy that’s behind in his progression.”

When asked if Taylor will be ready for Opening Day in the Bronx on April 7, Cora responded by saying: “I don’t want to say it’s doubtful, but he has some catching up to do.”

Taylor spent time on the injured list last September due to a low back strain. The left-hander returned in time for the postseason and pitched well in his six appearances, but he did so while still dealing with discomfort in his lower back.

In a recent conversation with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier and Pete Abraham, Taylor explained that he received an epidural injection last fall and could have undergone off-season surgery to repair a herniated disk. He instead opted to rehab from the injury through the winter and is now behind other pitchers as a result.

“It’s a little leftover from last year,” Taylor said. “I had that back issue and it’s still kind of lingering. We’re just progressing a little slower right now to try and get me back right. It’s not bad. It’s definitely way better than it was. I did a lot of work in the offseason to get it right. It’s a bit more strengthening right now to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Taylor also told Speier and Abraham that he has yet to throw off a mound this spring, but he will do so for the first time in a pair of bullpen sessions at the Fenway South complex this week.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off a 2021 season in which he emerged as one of Cora’s most trusted options out of the Boston bullpen. In 61 relief appearances (second-highest on the team) last year, Taylor posted a 3.40 ERA and 2.83 FIP with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 47 2/3 innings pitched.

With Taylor likely starting the year on the injured list, the Red Sox do have other left-handed relievers on the 40-man roster they can turn to in Austin Davis, Jake Diekman, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Matt Strahm. They also recently signed veteran lefty Derek Holland to a minor-league deal that includes an invite to major-league spring training.

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)