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MLB’s Lockout Impacts Adalberto Mondesi as Much as Anyone

As Mondesi is changing how he prepares this offseason, that task becomes much more difficult without direct team support.

Major League Baseball's current lockout is unfortunate for the players. It very well may result in some concessions being made that end up being favorable for baseball's finest talents, but the short-term downsides are legitimate.

Until the lockout ends, everything is frozen. Players can't be traded. They can't sign with new clubs in free agency. They can't communicate with front office personnel, coaches or members of the training staff. Heck, they can't even work out at team facilities. It's a brutal time to have this be a pivotal offseason in your career as a player.

But that's what it is for Kansas City Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi.

To be fair, confining Mondesi to strictly the "shortstop" box may not work anymore. He logged significant innings at third base last season, could play some more designated hitter in 2022 and many have even opined that he should transition to an outfield role. He's no longer a shortstop-only player — at least, based on what we saw in 2021. A major problem, though, is that he hasn't been on the field often enough to make a long-lasting impact on the team.

The most games Mondesi has been able to play in a season is 102, which happened in 2019. The year prior was his second-best effort, checking in at the 75-game mark. Outside of that, a combination of injuries and setbacks has limited the 26-year-old infielder quite a bit. With that in mind, the Royals went into the offseason with a new plan for Mondesi as he tries to become a more reliable player in terms of availability. 

Mike Tosar, a special assignment hitting coordinator for the Royals, is responsible for working with players like catcher Salvador Perez to tweak things in the offseason and maximize their productivity. After going home to the Dominican Republic for a month following the conclusion of the season, Mondesi was supposed to begin working with Tosar in Florida. Because of the lockout, he can't do that. 

The Royals also can't get updates directly from Mondesi, nor can they recommend any additional changes to his offseason regimen. The longer the lockout lasts, the more the Royals have to hope that Mondesi is making strides in his offseason development independently. If things bleed into spring training, where Mondesi is expected to show up early, that throws another fork in everyone's plans. 

All of this is to say that while the Royals and Mondesi developed a clear plan in an effort to make him better and more durable, that plan got spoiled by the lockout. It remains to be seen what the alternate route was or is, and no one will find out until baseball opens back up. Regardless of whether that's a week from now, a month from now or even weeks into the ramp-up for next season, the timing of the entire situation hurts Mondesi more than just about any MLB player. His future is riding on these crucial offseason moments.

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