David Lesky bids farewell to Adalberto Mondesi:
Yes, there’s a world where he plays like an MVP and you can get a very nice return for him, but in this age of sports betting everywhere, that would be like +10000. Now, personally I wouldn’t have traded for a 30-year old lefty reliever who missed all of 2022 with a back injury. I actually like Taylor quite a bit, but my preference would have been a lower-level prospect who the Royals offensive development team could probably work some magic with, but I think the actual value of Taylor is about right for Mondesi.
Because the thing is that he’s got a lot to like about him as a reliever. All of this is based on his 2021 season since he didn’t pitch at all last year, but he’s a big lefty who relies heavily on a slider that got whiffs on 47.3 percent of swings. It’s a damn fine pitch.
Craig Brown also has thoughts on the move:
It paints an interesting, and not necessarily unusual, career arc given his age, experience and track record of injury. After his debut in the 2015 World Series, Mondesi got a call-up in late July 2016 (after serving his 50-game suspension) as a 20-year-old. He won a starting role out of spring training the next year. The chart illustrates a player who was overmatched in the majors in his first two seasons of action.
It looked like he turned a corner in 2018 as a 22-year-old. That was ultimately his finest season in Kansas City where he posted a .306 OBP and .498 slugging percentage, both career-bests. Same for his 115 OPS+.
He’s never come close to that kind of offensive production.
Just gonna include as many different takes on this trade as possible:
Headed to Kansas City in exchange for Mondesi is Josh Taylor. Like Mondesi, Taylor missed nearly all of 2022, only appearing in minor league rehab games before being shut down for the season with a lingering back issue. When healthy, Taylor almost exactly defines the “95 and a slider” relief archetype, throwing fastballs and sliders each about half the time, with the heaters averaging 94.6 mph. Like many other middle relievers, Taylor has an excellent career strikeout rate (29.4%) but is also occasionally prone to wildness, walking 10% of hitters. In about 100 career innings, he has a 79 ERA- and 75 FIP-, making him solidly above average when available.
This trade, along with the deal that sent Michael A. Taylor to Minnesota in exchange for sidewinding lefty Evan Sisk and flamethrower Steven Cruz, supplements the pitching depth of a farm system that hasn’t reached its desired developmental outcomes recently. The Royals system has been much maligned for its struggles getting numerous big-name pitching prospects to pan out as major league starters. As for relievers, just two of the eight arms projected to make their bullpen this season were originally drafted or signed by Kansas City; the rest were acquired via free agency or trade. Perhaps the Royals are hoping for solid major league outcomes from younger pitchers who have already had much of their developmental work done by other teams. Taylor immediately slots into a bullpen that finished 27th in relief ERA (and starter ERA) last season, while Sisk and Cruz build depth for the future.
Jordan Foote shares takeaways from a Tuesday call with J.J. Picollo:
Relatively early in the call, Picollo said that trading Mondesi “may be the best thing for him” and also mentioned the “frustrations” that Mondesi encountered during his time as a Royal. Picollo said that while Kansas City pondered over what it could’ve done differently to help Mondesi’s Royals career take a different path, he was confident that everyone involved — including Mondesi — tried their best to make it work regarding health and strength/conditioning.
When asked about how Mondesi felt after hearing the news that he was being traded, Picollo used the word “excited” multiple times. Part of that was due to the destination (Boston is in need of a starting shortstop right now) but another part was because of the alleged need for something new. Picollo said he didn’t want to speak for Mondesi, but he felt as if the 27-year-old needed a “clean break” and thought that it would help him move forward in his career. Through a tremendous amount of love and respect, Picollo also revealed some of the challenges and feelings surrounding the Mondesi era in Kansas City.
Dan Szymborski continues his 2023 ZiPS projections with the St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves, and San Francisco Giants.
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