Boston Red Sox Acquire Adalberto Mondesi from Kansas City Royals

Adalberto Mondesi is seeing red (sox)…

The 27-year-old Dominican American professional baseball shortstop has been acquired by the Boston Red Sox from the Kansas City Royals for left-handed reliever Josh Taylor, providing middle-infield depth to buttress losses this winter to free agency and injury.

Adalberto Mondesi The Red Sox also will be receiving a player to be named or cash considerations as part of the deal.

The Red Sox also officially announced their one-year contract with outfielder Adam Duvall and designated right-handed reliever Matt Barnes for assignment in a corresponding move. The 32-year-old Barnes, who has spent his entire nine-season major league career with the Red Sox, was 0-4 with four saves and a 4.31 ERA last season.

Mondesi, whose star-level tools made him a top prospect but whose inability to stay healthy has limited him to 358 games in seven seasons, is recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee. Boston lost shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres and second baseman Trevor Story to internal bracing surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, leaving a significant middle-infield gap.

Enrique Hernandez, who has played center field for the Red Sox over the past two seasons, is expected to take over at shortstop, where he has played 100 career games.

Mondesi has spent most of his career at shortstop, though he has dabbled at second and third base in the past. He will make $3.045 million this season.

Kansas City once saw Mondesi as a foundational player in its rebuild, and he looked the part in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, hitting for power and stealing 75 bases with his elite speed. For him to be packaged with a player to be named later and return only a reliever illustrates how far Mondesi’s stock has fallen. Over his seven seasons, Mondesi’s career line is .244/.280/.408 with 38 home runs and 133 stolen bases.

Taylor, 29, has been effective in his two full seasons with the Red Sox but missed all of 2022 with a back injury.

In 2021, he struck out 60 in 47⅔ innings, walked 23 and allowed only two home runs. Taylor, who has thrown multiple bullpen sessions recently and is expected to be healthy in time for spring training, will join Aroldis Chapman — who recently signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal — Amir Garrett and perhaps Angel Zerpa as left-handers in the Royals’ bullpen.

Kansas City might not be done dealing, either. Earlier in the week, it traded center fielder Michael A. Taylor to Minnesota, and sources told ESPN the Royals have spoken with teams about utilityman Hunter Dozier — who’s owed $17.25 million over the next two seasons — and infielder Nicky Lopez, who had a WAR of 4.2 in 2021.

Eric Hosmer Agrees to One-Year Contract with Chicago Cubs

Eric Hosmer is headed to the Windy City

The Chicago Cubs filled a need at first base and designated hitter, giving the 33-year-old half-Cuban American free agent a one-year contract, according to ESPN.

Eric Hosmer, Chicago will only have to pay Hosmer the minimum salary, according to ESPN sources, as he still has three years and $39 million left on a contract he signed with the San Diego Padres in 2018.

Hosmer was traded from the Padres to the Boston Red Sox last season, not long after San Diego acquired Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals.

Hosmer was released by the Red Sox at the end of the year.

Hosmer has a career .764 OPS while spending his best seasons with the Kansas City Royals who he helped to a World Series title in 2015.

Two years later, he signed an 8-year, $144 million deal with San Diego which runs through 2025. The Padres are paying most of that remaining salary.

Hosmer figures to see time mostly at designated hitter as well as first base. The team also has holdover Patrick Wisdom, who can play first, as well as prospect Matt Mervis. Mervis hit 36 home runs combined in three different levels of the minors last season, but it’s not clear if he’ll make the team out of spring training.

Last season, Hosmer had a hot April — compiling an OPS over 1.000 — but cooled off for the final months of the year. From May to October, his OPS was just .636.

The signing is part of a longer term plan by the Cubs who are attempting to improve in 2023 after a 74 win season but also have an eye on competing at a higher level in the coming years. The deal should be viewed similar to Cody Bellinger‘s one-year contract — as a bridge to younger prospects who aren’t quite ready for the majors.

Along with Mervis potentially taking over at first base, the team is hoping centerfield, where Bellinger plays, will be manned by Pete Crow-Armstrong soon. He was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets in July 2021.

Hosmer joins Bellinger, shortstop Dansby Swanson, pitcher Jameson Taillon and catcher Tucker Barnhart as key offseason acquisitions for Chicago.

Rafael Devers Reportedly Agrees to 11-Year, $331 Million Contract Extension with Boston Red Sox

Rafael Devers is thisclose to a historic MLB deal…

The 26-year-old Dominican professional baseball third baseman is finalizing an 11-year, $331 million contract extension with the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN, a deal that will keep him from reaching free agency this year and constitutes the longest and largest guarantee ever given by the franchise.

Rafael DeversThe agreement, which would be the largest ever for a third baseman, comes in the midst of an arduous winter for the Red Sox, who lost longtime shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres in free agency nearly three years after trading star right fielder Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Offering Devers to a deal far longer than Manny Ramirez‘s eight-year pact and more than 50% larger than David Price‘s $217 million contract was enough for the two-time MLB All-Star to accept shepherding the Red Sox out of last place in the American League East and back to contention.

The contract will start in 2023 and extend through the 2033 season, sources said. The one-year, $17.5 million contract Devers signed earlier in the week to avoid arbitration will be superseded by the long-term deal.

Devers debuted with Boston at 20 years old in 2017 and quickly illustrated why scouts so adored his bat. His left-handed swing was perfectly suited for Fenway Park, with doubles thwacking off the Green Monster and home runs carrying out to right field. Devers’ acumen has only grown. In 2022, he hit .295/.358/.521 with 27 home runs, 88 RBIs and a career-best OPS+ of 141.

It was similar to his 2021 season, in which Devers hit 38 home runs, and 2019, when he led the major leagues with 359 total bases as a 22-year-old. The consistency made him the perfect candidate to keep around long term with the losses of Bogaerts and Betts, whose steadiness was among their defining characteristics. Early negotiations on a deal bore no fruit, with Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Devers’ agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of Rep 1, far apart in their valuations.

Whether the backlash from losing Bogaerts and Betts — and just losing — had any effect on the consummation of the deal is unclear. But on Monday, with Fenway Park hosting the majestic Winter Classic, fans booed John Henry, a show of the sentiment toward the owner under whom the Red Sox broke their 86-year World Series drought before winning three more championships.

Seeing Bogaerts walk with an offer tens of millions of dollars short stung, especially with the Red Sox designating for assignment Jeter Downs, the main prospect return in the Betts deal, just days after. Bogaerts, 30, was, like Devers, a homegrown star: five Silver Sluggers, four All-Star appearances and two World Series rings. The notion of a long-term left side of the infield with Bogaerts and Devers felt natural to a Red Sox fan base coming to terms with last-place finishes in two of the past three seasons, sandwiched around an ALCS appearance.

When Bogaerts left, the focus turned naturally to Devers, who benefited greatly from the megadeals given out this winter. Aaron Judge topped the list with $360 million from the New York YankeesTrea Turner got $300 million from Philadelphia and Bogaerts $280 million from the Padres. And Carlos Correa agreed to a pair of $300 million-plus deals, though medical foibles have his status in limbo.

Beyond Bogaerts this offseason, World Series hero Nathan Eovaldi left for the Texas Rangers, and the Red Sox fell short of signing multiple free agent targets. Instead, the Red Sox redistributed the resources across the roster by adding Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida on a five-year, $90 million deal, relievers Kenley Jansen (two years, $32 million) and Chris Martin (two years, $17 million), third baseman Justin Turner at two years for $21 million and starter Corey Kluber at a year and $10 million.

Devers will be the roster’s cornerstone and the face of the franchise for the new era of the Red Sox. Though the third baseman has improved defensively over this career, he could potentially move to first base or designated hitter down the road. But as long as his swing and production are even a facsimile of what he has done, it won’t matter what position he’s playing.

Joely Rodriguez Agrees to $2 Million, One-Year Contract with Boston Red Sox

Joely Rodriguez is seeing Red (Sox)…

The 31-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher has agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, a deal that includes a team option for 2024.

Joely Rodriguez Rodriguez gets a $1.5 million salary next year, and the Red Sox’s option is for $4.25 million with a $500,000 buyout.

He can earn $250,000 in performance bonuses each year for games pitched: $50,000 each for 30 and each additional 10 through 70. In 2023, he also can earn $800,000 in roster bonuses: $200,000 apiece for 30, 60, 90 and 120 active days.

Rodriguez’s contract allows him to become a free agent when the deal expires.

The left-hander was 2-4 with a 4.47 ERA last season for the New York Mets, striking out 57 and walking 26 in 50⅓ innings while allowing three home runs.

Rodríguez is 5-9 with a 4.56 ERA in 157 relief appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies (2016-17), Texas Rangers (2020-21), New York Yankees (2021) and Mets (2022).

He spent 2018 and ’19 with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Central League.

Enrique Hernández Agrees to One-Year Contract Extension with Boston Red Sox

Enrique Hernández will be seeing red (s0x) for another year…

The Boston Red Sox have signed the 31-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball utility player to a one-year contract extension, keeping the outfielder in the city where he starred in the 2021 postseason.

Enrique HernándezThe Red Sox did not disclose financial terms of the deal that runs through 2023, but sources told ESPN that the extension is worth $10 million.

A hip-flexor injury sidelined Hernández for more than two months this season and contributed to his struggles on the field after his career year in 2021. Hernández is batting .219 with a .637 OPS and has only six home runs in more than 300 plate appearances in the final season of a two-year, $14 million contract.

Hernández was due to hit free agency this winter and was coming off a season in which he hit .250/.337/.449, played elite defense in center field and compiled 4.9 Baseball-Reference wins above replacement (and 4.1 from FanGraphs).

“We like good players,” Boston manager Alex Cora said before Tuesday night’s game at Tampa Bay. “What he brings to the organization, defensively, in the clubhouse, and offensively he’s a lot better than what he’s shown this year. He’s a great example for those kids in there. It’s important to retain this type of player.”

In the Red Sox’s run to the cusp of the World Series last year, Hernández was the team’s best player. In the American League Division Series against the Rays, he batted .450 and slugged .900 with two home runs. He nearly equaled those numbers in the AL Championship Series, hitting .385/.407/.846 with three solo homers.

“To me, winning is the most important thing,” Hernández said Tuesday. “I want to win in Boston. Last year was a little taste of it, and it was a surreal experience. Just the passion of the fan base. I want to be able to experience winning the World Series in Boston.”

Hernández said in his talks with Chaim Bloom that the Boston team president promised him that the Red Sox “were going to be way better next year.”

Originally projected to be a super-utility player, Hernández emerged as a defensive stalwart in center field for Boston, though that hasn’t stopped the Red Sox from also using him at shortstop and second base this season. The right-handed-hitting Hernandez also played first and third base and both corner-outfield spots in Los Angeles, where he spent six seasons with the Dodgers.

Hernández, who was drafted in the sixth round by Houston in 2009 out of his native Puerto Rico, was set to be one of a slew of free agents for the Red Sox, who are expected to have one of the busiest offseasons in baseball. Currently in last place in the AL East at 67-69, Boston faces a winter in which star shortstop Xander Bogaerts is expected to opt out of his contract and starters Nathan EovaldiMichael Wacha and Rich Hill, plus reliever Matt Strahm, will be free agents.

The Red Sox will have less than $60 million committed to their 2023 payroll if Bogaerts opts out. They also could look to extend 25-year-old MLB All-Star third baseman Rafael Devers, who is set to hit free agency following the 2023 season.

Boston Red Sox Catcher Christian Vazquez Traded to Houston Astros

Christian Vazquez is preparing for an astronomical change…

The Houston Astros have acquired the 31-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball catcher from the Boston Red Sox.

Christian VazquezThe Red Sox received infielder/outfielder Enmanuel Valdez and minor league outfielder Wilyer Abreu from the Astros in exchange for Vazquez.

Vazquez has a .759 OPS with 8 home runs and 42 RBIs this season and will provide an immediate upgrade over the Astros current starting catcher, Martin Maldonado.

Vazquez, who will be a free agent next season, had been with the Red Sox since 2014 and was the longest tenured player in the organization.

Valdez, 23, is batting .327 with a 1.016 OPS in 82 games for Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land. He is ranked as the Astros’ No. 12 prospect by Baseball America.

Abreu, 23, is batting .249 with a .858 OPS in 89 games with Corpus Christi. He is ranked as the Astros’ No. 21 prospect by Baseball America.

J.D. Martinez Added to MLB All-Star Game Roster

J.D. Martinez is getting his all-star moment after all…

The 34-year-old Cuban American professional baseball player, a designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox, has been added to the MLB All-Star Game rosters, according to the league.

J.D. Martinez Martinez is part of a roster of new additions that includes Garrett Cooper, and an Francisco Giants ace Carlos Rodon.

Martinez replaces Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez and becomes the third Boston Red Sox player to land on the American League roster along with Xander Bogaerts and have been added to the All-Star rosters, MLB announced Tuesday.

Cooper steps in for reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper. The Philadelphia Phillies‘ star has a fractured thumb. Cooper gives the Miami Marlins three All-Stars as he joins teammates Sandy Alcantara and Jazz Chisholm Jr. 

Rodon was one of the more notable snubs when rosters were announced, but he ends up making his second All-Star appearance by replacing Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader, who has family responsibilities.

Rodon (8-5, 2.70 ERA) was selected by the league to fill in for Hader, while Martinez and Cooper were next up in voting at their positions. This is the fifth time Martinez has been an All-Star, but the first time for Cooper.

Dodger Stadium will host the MLB All-Star Game next Tuesday night at 7:30 pm ET.

Josh Rojas Ends Home Run Drought with Three Home Runs

Josh Rojas is officially on fire…

The 27-year-old Latino professional baseball star and Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman, who had yet to record a home run this season, hit three of them Friday afternoon in a 10-6 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Josh RojasIn the process, Rojas became the 13th player in team history to accomplish the feat.

“This was a pretty good feeling, especially coming into the game with zero and leaving with three,” Rojas said. “It’s a pretty awesome feeling.”

It was the first three-homer game of Rojas’ career. He’s the fourth player to go deep three times in a game this season, joining Boston Red Sox‘s Trevor Story, the New York Yankees‘ Anthony Rizzo and Toronto Blue Jays‘ Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

He took advantage of the friendly hitting conditions at Wrigley Field, as the wind was blowing at 25 mph.

“I went out during batting practice and I knew it was blowing out pretty hard,” Rojas said. “I knew it would be a good day to put the ball in the air.”

Rojas, 27, homered off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks in the third and fifth innings, then hit one off reliever Mychal Givens in the seventh. He is the second player in Diamondbacks history to tally his first three home runs of a season in the same game, joining Erubiel Durazo in 2002.

Rojas admitted he tried to hit a home run in his first at-bat but popped out; then, after hitting three home runs in his next three plate appearances, he once again attempted to hit one out and instead was called out on strikes.

“First at-bat I was trying to hit a homer,” Rojas said with a smile. “It didn’t work out … I was definitely trying to hit a fourth home run, especially with a good lead.”

Said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo: “When you try to generate, when you try to hit a home run — go back as far as little league — it never happens.”

The Diamondbacks’ seven home runs — the last of which came off the bat of Christian Walker, who leads the National League with 10 — marked the most a team has hit in a game this season.

Arizona left fielder David Peralta homered twice, while Chicago’s Christopher Morel and Ildemaro Vargas went back-to-back in the seventh. By the final out, the Diamondbacks and Cubs had combined to hit 11 home runs, tying the mark for most in a game at Wrigley Field.

It was the fifth game in Wrigley’s history to feature 11 combined home runs, and the first since 2006.

“These days [have] happened here, in this stadium, for a long, long time,” Lovullo said. “No lead is safe.”

Jose Iglesias Agrees to One-Year Contract with Colorado Rockies

Jose Iglesias is headed to Colorado…

The 32-year-old Cuban professional baseball shortstop has agreed to a one-year contract with the Colorado Rockies, according to The Associated Press.

Jose IglesiasIglesias, who is represented by MVP Sorts Group, will earn $5 million.

Bringing in Iglesias all but shuts the door on a return of free-agent shortstop Trevor Story, who is set to become the latest big-name player to exit the Rockies.

Before the 2021 season, the team traded perennial All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Story turned in a 24-homer, 20-steal season in ’21 as the Rockies missed the playoffs for a third straight year.

Iglesias batted .271 last season over 114 games with the Los Angeles Angels and 23 with the Boston Red Sox. He was an MLB All-Star in 2015 while a member of the Detroit Tigers.

Iglesias, who made his debut in Major League Baseball in 2011, has also played with the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles during his 10-year-career.

David Ortiz is This Year’s Sole Inductee into Baseball Hall of Fame

David Ortiz is a lone wolf…

The 46-year-old Dominican-American former professional baseball designated hitter and first baseman who played 20 seasons in Major League Baseball, nicknamed “Big Papi,” is the sole player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, while others like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were shut out.

David OrtizOrtiz was the only player to clear the required 75% threshold, according to results of this year’s voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Ortiz finished with 77.9% in becoming the 58th player elected in his first year of eligibility. At 46, he will also be the youngest of the 75 living members of the Hall.

“I learned not too long ago how difficult it is to get in on the first ballot,” Ortiz said. “Man, it’s a wonderful honor to be able to get in on my first rodeo. It’s something that is very special to me.”

Bonds, baseball’s all-time home run leader; 354-game winner Clemens; 600-homer-club member Sammy Sosa; and longtime ace pitcher Curt Schilling were in their 10th and final year of eligibility in the annual BBWAA balloting.

Bonds, Sosa and Clemens posted numbers that marked them as surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famers, but they became avatars for the era of performance-enhancing drugs. While Bonds and Clemens in particular have long denied using PEDs, accusations have dogged them in the media and in books, and have been the subject of court dramas and testimony in front of Congress. In the end, about a third of the voters decided the allegations were too egregious to overlook, enough to bar their entry to the hallowed halls of Cooperstown, at least via the writers’ vote.

Ortiz is a different story, despite his own PED suspicions. A 2009 story in The New York Times reported that Ortiz was among 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing substances during a round of tests conducted in 2003. Those results were supposed to remain confidential, and the tests were done to see if the league had reached a threshold to conduct regular testing.

Ortiz has long denied that he used banned substances, and in 2016, commissioner Rob Manfred said the tests in question were inconclusive because “it was hard to distinguish between certain substances that were legal, available over the counter and not banned under our program.”

Manfred added that during subsequent testing Ortiz “has never been a positive at any point under our program.”

When asked about those suspicions Tuesday, Ortiz said, “We had someone coming out with this one list, where you don’t know what anybody tested positive for. All of a sudden people are pointing fingers at me. But then we started being drug tested and I never tested positive. What does that tell you?”

As for the last-chance candidates, Sosa’s support never approached the threshold for election, but the cases of Bonds and Clemens were more divisive among the selectors. Both climbed over the 50% mark in 2017 only to see their support plateau in recent seasons. The tallies for their last go-arounds were 66% for Bonds and 65.2% for Clemens.

Among first-time eligibles on this year’s ballot were MLB All-Star infielder Alex Rodriguez, who finished with 696 home runs and 2,086 RBIs, totals that both rank fourth all-time in their respective categories. Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating baseball’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs. Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was the only other first-time eligible beyond Ortiz and Rodriguez to draw enough support to remain on the ballot.

Ortiz, widely known for his gregarious personality and endearing nickname, became the second career designated hitter to be selected via the writers’ balloting. Seattle Mariners great Edgar Martinez was the first when he was elected in 2019. A member of three World Series-winning teams in Boston, Ortiz hit 541 career home runs and added 17 more while putting together a celebrated postseason résumé.

 

“David Ortiz is the most important player to ever wear a Red Sox uniform,” Red Sox president & CEO Sam Kennedy said in a statement put out by the team. “He came to Boston in relative anonymity and with his captivating personality and his formidable bat he shattered expectations and paved the franchise’s future in championships.”

Ortiz will become the second Hall of Famer from the 2004 Red Sox, who famously broke Boston’s 86-year championship drought by winning that season’s World Series, joining pitcher Pedro Martinez. He also cements his place in the pantheon of Boston sports stars like Ted Williams, Bobby Orr and Bill Russell, something he said he never thought could happen.

“When I first got to Boston, I used to look up at those guys like, ‘Wow, I don’t think you can be part of that pack at all,'” Ortiz said. “You’re talking about real legendary, real OG. But they began their career just like I did. Not with the thought that they were going to end up where they are.”

Martinez was with Ortiz on Tuesday at a gathering in the Dominican Republic, where Ortiz received news of his election. Ortiz is the fourth Dominican-born player to be elected to the Hall, joining Martinez, Juan Marichal and Vladimir Guerrero.

“I can imagine how New England feels about one of its babies getting into the Hall of Fame today,” Ortiz said. “I don’t even have to tell you about the Dominican Republic. It’s a country that breathes baseball. And people are very excited right here. Everything is going crazy right now.”

Ortiz will enter the Hall during the July 24 induction ceremony at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown. He will join six players selected by a pair of era committees last month: Brooklyn Dodgers great Gil Hodges, Twins slugger Tony Oliva, longtime White Sox star Minnie Minoso, pitcher Jim Kaat, Black baseball pioneer Bud Fowler and Negro League legend and ambassador Buck O’Neil. All but Ortiz, Kaat and Olivo will be inducted posthumously.

In addition, late broadcaster Jack Graney will be honored as the Ford C. Frick award winner for excellence in broadcasting, while ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian will be recognized as this year’s winner of the BBWAA Career Excellence Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.

With Ortiz standing as the lone winner from this year’s BBWAA balloting, the writers have now elected just one player total over the past two cycles. The sudden drought comes on the heels of a fertile period for inductees, which saw the writers select 22 players during the period from 2014 to 2020.