Adalberto Mondesi could be great, but the KC Royals shouldn’t extend him yet.
The KC Royals opened their 2021 season Thursday with a long, offense-packed 14-10 victory over the Texas Rangers. It was the first time fans had been admitted to Kauffman Stadium since 2019.
Conspicuously absent from the lineup, though was shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, who went on the 10-day Injured List Wednesday with an oblique issue.
Easily found on Royals-related media and websites in the days leading up to Wednesday was wide speculation about a possible early contract extension for Mondesi. A time will likely come for such an extension, but it isn’t now.
More than one reason justifies not extending Mondesi, not the least of which is lack of business necessity. At 25, Mondesi’s a veteran of at least parts of five big league seasons and boasts incredible potential. But he isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season, which means he’s under team control until then and can’t force Kansas City to make a deal. And arbitration won’t do it: the most Mondesi can get going that route is a one-season deal. The Royals, of course, risk a big one-year award, but that’s better financially than a premature long-term arrangement.
So it is that the Royals have no compelling financial reason to extend their shortstop, at least not now. That may sound harsh, but baseball can be a cold business, and some business decisions are sound despite how negatively they may be perceived by players and fans.
Some, however, might argue Mondesi’s past good performance alone warrants an immediate and lucrative multi-year extension. Is that the case? Let’s find out.