Even on a travel day, the Red Sox still made some headlines on Thursday by reinstating right-hander Phillips Valdez from the COVID-19 related injured list.
In order to make room on their 40-man roster for Valdez, outfielder Franchy Cordero was designated for assignment, the club announced earlier Thursday afternoon.
Valdez had been out on the COVID-19 related injured list since testing positive for the virus while the Red Sox were in Chicago on September 12. It took more than two weeks for him to get cleared to return to action, but he was eventually sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Sept. 29.
In two relief appearances for the WooSox, the 29-year-old hurler allowed one earned run on zero hits, six walks, and two strikeouts over 1 1/3 innings of work.
At the moment, it’s unclear if Valdez — who turns 30 next month — can be added to Boston’s American League Championship Series roster since that would require someone else to be taken off. He would be eligible for the World Series if the Red Sox were to advance, though.
With Valdez being activated from the COVID-related IL, the Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster, and they did so by designating Cordero for assignment.
Cordero, one of five players the Sox acquired in the three-team trade with the Royals and Mets that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City in February, initially began the 2021 campaign by making Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training.
The 27-year-old got his season off to a slow start, however, as he hit just .179/.228/.274 with six doubles, one home run, nine RBI, nine runs scored, one stolen base, six walks, and 37 strikeouts through his first 34 games (102 plate appearances) with the Red Sox before getting optioned to Worcester for the first time on May 27.
While he enjoyed moderate success with the WooSox, the left-handed hitting Cordero could never really find his footing at the major-league level even after the Red Sox tried him as a first baseman to get him more playing time.
From the time he was recalled from Worcester again shortly after the All-Star break, Cordero appeared in a total of 14 games for the Red Sox and spent nearly the entirety of his September at Triple-A.
Despite having one minor-league option remaining and being under team control through 2023, Cordero must have been viewed by the Sox as expandable for them to remove him from their 40-man roster.
Along with Cordero, Boston acquired right-handed pitching prospect Josh Winckowski and three players to be named later from Kansas City and New York on Feb. 10.
Less than four months later, the trade was completed when the Red Sox acquired pitching prospects Grant Gambrell and Luis De La Rosa from the Royals and outfield prospect Freddy Valdez from the Mets in early June.
By designating Cordero for assignment, the Sox have exposed the Dominican-born outfielder to waivers. If he goes unclaimed over the next seven days, Boston could then retain his services by outrighting him to Worcester.
(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)