The Red Sox' perplexing offseason continued earlier this week with the acquisition of oft-injured shortstop Adalberto Mondesi from the Royals in exchange for left-hander Josh Taylor. Among the most polarizing hitters in the fantasy landscape, Mondesi possesses stratospheric stolen base upside and should benefit greatly this season from rule changes designed to increase stolen base attempts. However, omnipresent injuries and persistent contact issues kept him from reaching his astronomical power/speed combo ceiling with Kansas City. The 27-year-old switch-hitting speedster has been limited to just 50 games combined over the last two seasons due to injuries and is coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters on Tuesday following the trade that Mondesi is still rehabbing from last May's knee surgery and might not be ready for Opening Day. He also added that Enrique Hernández will remain Boston's starting shortstop, even after Mondesi is ready to return. It's highly unlikely that the Red Sox would go out and acquire Mondesi, who is a solid defender at shortstop, if they didn't intend to play him regularly – as long as he's healthy – in his final season before reaching free agency. Therefore, it appears likely that they'll mix-and-match with Mondesi, Hernández and Christian Arroyo at the middle infield spots depending on opposing pitching matchups. From a pure fantasy standpoint, Mondesi should benefit tremendously from Fenway Park's hitter-friendly environment in addition to the aforementioned rule changes specifically tailored to increase stolen bases. It's a phenomenal landing spot, which should make Mondesi a worthwhile late-round lottery ticket for fantasy managers outside the top-250 overall selections in drafts this spring. However, his lengthy injury can't be overlooked and it certainly amplifies the risk in his profile.
Rays Ink Springs To Extension
The Rays continued to solidify the long-term future of their formidable starting rotation on Wednesday signing left-hander Jeffrey Springs to a four-year, $31 million contract extension, which could be worth up to $65.75 million over five seasons through performance-related bonuses. The 30-year-old southpaw put together the strongest season of his career last year, finishing with a sparkling 2.46 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 144/31 K/BB ratio across 135 1/3 innings (33 appearances, 25 starts). He blossomed into a full-fledged member of Tampa Bay's starting rotation in early May and went on to allow three earned runs or fewer in 22 of his final 24 starts. He doesn't miss a ton of bats, but excels at limiting free passes, avoiding hard contact, and also getting opposing hitters to chase outside of the strike zone. He doesn't possess immense upside from a fantasy standpoint due to a rather pedestrian strikeout rate, but he's excellent from a run-prevention standpoint and will slot in as a borderline top-50 starting pitcher in drafts this spring.
Marte Uncertain For Spring Training
It appears likely that veteran outfielder Tommy Pham, who finalized a one-year, $6 million contract earlier this week with the Mets, will play a greater role in New York's outfield mix, at least in the early stages of the 2023 campaign, after SNY's Andy Martino reported on Wednesday evening that Starling Marte's status remains uncertain on the brink of spring training as he continues to recover from last year's core muscle surgery. The 34-year-old underwent the procedure last September and the Mets are expected to proceed cautiously with his rehabilitation this spring. It's unclear whether Marte will wind up missing any time at the outset of the regular season, but it's a bit concerning that his recovery is taking much longer than the original two-month timeline. There should be some clarity on his status sometime in the early stages of spring training.
MLB Quick Hits: Astros hired Braves vice president of scouting Dana Brown as their new general manager … According to Britt Ghiroli and Katie Strang of The Athletic, Mike Clevinger is under investigation by Major League Baseball following allegations of domestic violence and child abuse … According to Héctor Gómenz of Z101Digital.com, Fernando Tatis Jr. (wrist, shoulder) took batting practice on Thursday … Orioles acquired LHP Cole Irvin and RHP Kyle Virbitsky from the Athletics for INF Darell Hernaiz … Twins acquired OF Michael A. Taylor from the Royals for Evan Sisk and Steven Cruz … According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Athletics and free agent first baseman Jesús Aguilar have agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract … Red Sox signed OF Adam Duvall to a one-year, $7 million contract … Mets signed OF Tommy Pham to a one-year, $6 million contract … Brewers signed INF/OF BrIan Anderson to a one-year, $3.5 million contract ... Padres signed DH Nelson Cruz to a one-year, $1 million contract … Red Sox designated RHP Matt Barnes for assignment … Orioles designated LHP Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment … Twins designated RHP A.J. Alexy for assignment ... Mets designated LHP Tayler Saucedo for assignment … Cubs sent RHP Manuel Rodríguez and LHP Anthony Kay outright to Triple-A Iowa … Mariners sent LHP Justus Sheffield outright to Triple-A Tacoma and also sent OF Alberto Rodriguez outright to High-A Everett … Marlins sent LHP Daniel Castano outright to Triple-A Jacksonville … Guardians OF prospect George Valera is recovering from surgery to repair a fractured hamate bone in his right hand … Tigers signed 2B Cesár Hernández to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Mets re-signed C Michael Perez to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Mariners signed INF Jason Vosler to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Marlins signed LHP Devin Smeltzer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Brewers signed RHP Robert Stock to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Cubs signed C Luis Torrens and RHP Jordan Holloway to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training … Reds re-signed RHP Derek Law to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Rangers signed RHP Reyes Moronta to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Red Sox signed LHP Ryan Sherriff and RHP Matt Dermody to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training … Blue Jays signed OF Wynton Bernard to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Rays signed RHP Jaime Schultz and C Gavin Smith to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training … Phillies signed RHP Mark Appel, Jesus Cruz, and Jeremy Walker, and LHP Ben Bowden to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training and also re-signed OF Dustin Peterson to a minor league contract … Dodgers signed RHP's Wander Suero, Jordan Yamamoto and Kevin Gowdy, and C Hamlet Marte to minor league contracts … Braves signed 2B Yolmer Sanchez to a minor league contract … Mets signed RHP Humberto Mejía to a minor league contract … Diamondbacks signed RHP Jeurys Familia to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training and also signed LHP Jesse Biddle and RHP's Austin Adams and Eric Yardley to minor league contracts … Royals re-signed C José Brisceno to a minor league contract … Padres signed INF Jantzen Witte to a minor league contract … Twins re-signed RHP Orlando Rodriguez to a minor league contract … Brewers signed RHP Pedro Fernandez to a minor league contract … Brewers released 1B Jon Singleton.