Per Bob Fescoe of 610 Sports Radio, Kansas City Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi will be back in the lineup on Wednesday night to kick off the month of September. That's good news for both him and the team, but neither is out of the woods yet. He's serving as the team's designated hitter.
When healthy, Mondesi has shown flashes of being a top player in the MLB. He's played in just 10 games this season due to injuries but in those contests, he's hit .361 with four home runs and nine RBIs. The talent — speed, range, anticipation, baseball IQ, power and more — has never been a question. Health has, and Mondesi has been extremely limited in 2021.
Hamstring and oblique issues have led to Mondesi going through multiple stretches of rest and subsequent rehab. General manager Dayton Moore, known for being diplomatic in certain situations and overly-positive in others, is on record this year admitting that Mondesi can't be relied upon as an everyday player. Both obliques have bothered the oft-injured potential star, and tightness was the recent reason why his most recent rehab stint was delayed a bit.
The most games Mondesi has played in a season is 102. He did manage to play in all but one of the Royals' contests in 2020, although that was a shortened 60-game season. Durability is easily the biggest concern surrounding him, as he's an effective player when in the lineup and on the field. Luckily for the team, Nicky Lopez has emerged as a Gold Glove caliber shortstop and Whit Merrifield has taken his spot at second base and played elite defense in his own right. Kansas City has weathered the storm without Mondesi, but losing his value still hurts.
There are a few different pathways to the Royals contending in the future, and all of them contain a Mondesi-related element. If the team parts ways with him and he stays healthy elsewhere, Moore will have committed an unforgivable sin. If Mondesi returns to shortstop on a part-time basis, there's a ripple effect throughout the rest of the lineup. If he ends up in centerfield, can he be a long-term solution? What about a team-friendly contract extension? All of those "what if" scenarios must be considered when bringing him along.
Everyone within the Royals organization wants Mondesi to play. He's an electrifying player who makes jaw-dropping plays both in the field and at the plate when he's healthy. The Royals are undoubtedly far more dangerous when his switch is flipped to on. He's also under club control for the immediate future, although he can no longer be counted on to be a 162-game contributor — or anything close to that.
No one, including the Royals, is sure of the end result of the Mondesi experiment. With that said, there have been a lot of complaints about him returning to the DH spot to begin September. Before you become angry with the organization for trying to preserve one of their most precious assets, think about the entire Mondesi timeline. Being gentle with him has always been the case. It isn't suddenly going to stop now.