The Marlins are known to be exploring the market for infield help, with a specific eye on shortstop options. Free agent Adalberto Mondesi is among the names they’ve considered, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports.
Few can question the raw talent of the now-28-year-old Mondesi, who was touted as one of the game’s top prospects prior to debuting with the Royals and has at multiple points in his career flashed star potential. In just 75 games during the 2018 season, for instance, Mondesi cracked 14 home runs and swiped 32 bases, showing off a rare power/speed combo that could lead to some historic counting stats over the course of a full season.
Of course, as most fans know by now, that “full season” caveat is an immensely important one for Mondesi. Perhaps the game’s most oft-injured talent, Mondesi has never appeared in more than 102 games in a season and has never reached even 450 MLB plate appearances in a given year. He tallied a career-high 433 plate appearances in 2019 but has since appeared in just 109 games and taken 423 turns at the plate in four years combined.
Mondesi spent the 2023 season with the Red Sox after coming over from Kansas City in a trade that sent lefty reliever Josh Taylor to the Royals. He was recovering from a torn ACL that wiped out nearly all of his 2022 campaign in K.C., but myriad setbacks and a lack of progress in his recovery led to Mondesi missing the entire 2023 season as well. In addition to what’s now pushing a two-year absence due to that ACL tear, he’s suffered a pair of shoulder subluxations, the second of which required surgery in 2019. Mondesi has also had IL stints owing to oblique, back, groin and hamstring injuries throughout his career.
Although he has a full six years of MLB service time, Mondesi has appeared in just 358 Major League games. That speaks to the staggering volume of time he’s spent on the injured list with that litany of health troubles over the years. But in just 1336 career plate appearances, he’s also managed 38 homers and an eye-popping 133 steals. Mondesi rarely walks (career 4.4%) and strikes out too often (30.2%), but his blend of power, speed and defense (career 23 Outs Above Average, per Statcast) are tantalizing, particularly given the fact that his prolific injury history should lead to an affordable deal.
The Marlins are the only team in baseball right now that hasn’t signed at least one free agent to a major league contract. The Fish also haven’t made many trades of note. Miami added catcher Christian Bethancourt in a cash deal with the Guardians, and they’ve acquired former top prospect Vidal Brujan and righty Calvin Faucher in a trade with the Rays. Newly hired president of baseball operations Peter Bendix has been open about his desire to beef up the team’s catching and infield depth, but so far the biggest acquisition has been buying low on Brujan.
The Marlins currently project for a payroll around $97MM, which is $13MM or so shy of their end-of-season mark in 2023. As it currently stands, their top shortstop options include Brujan, fellow prospects Xavier Edwards and Jacob Amaya, and veteran utilityman Jon Berti. Jazz Chisholm Jr. is no stranger to shortstop, but it sounds as though the current plan is to keep him in center field for another season (and moving him would only create a similar hole in center anyhow).