Former Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero has agreed to a one-year, major-league contract with the Yankees, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. It is a split deal that will pay Cordero $1 million in the big-leagues and $180,000 in the minors. Barring a late surprise, the 28-year-old appears set to make New York’s Opening Day roster.
Cordero spent the last two seasons with the Red Sox after originally being acquired from the Royals as part of the three-team, seven-player trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City in February 2021. In 132 games with Boston, the left-handed hitter batted .209/.279/.350 with 23 doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 38 RBIs, 48 runs scored, five stolen bases, 36 walks, and 143 strikeouts over 411 plate appearances.
To begin his Red Sox tenure, Cordero struggled to the tune of a .189/.237/.260 slash line across 48 games in 2021. Though he found success at Triple-A Worcester during that time, he was still designated for assignment that October and was subsequently re-signed to a minor-league deal.
Cordero returned to Worcester for the start of the 2022 campaign and was called up for the first time in late April. He proceeded to hit .282/.346/.479 with two homers and 12 RBIs in his first 25 games back with the big-league club, most notably crushing a walk-off grand slam against the Mariners at Fenway Park on May 22.
As the calendar flipped from May to June, though, Cordero began to struggle again. He produced a .721 OPS in June and then slumped to the tune of a .162/.240/.279 line in July before being sent down to Worcester in early August. Cordero was recalled later that month after Eric Hosmer hit the injured list. He homered four times in his next 12 games but his season unfortunately came to an end on September 5 when he crashed into the left field wall at Tropicana Field and suffered a high right ankle sprain.
Cordero was projected to earn $1.5 million as an arbitration-eligible player in 2023 but was non-tendered by the Red Sox in November. It was previously reported that Boston liked what Cordero brought to the table in terms of tools and personality, but it could not guarantee him a clear path to playing time thanks to the emergence of fellow left-handed hitting first baseman Triston Casas.
Shortly after being cut loose by the Red Sox, Cordero inked a minors pact with the Orioles in December that came with an invite to major-league spring training. In 18 Grapefruit League for with Baltimore, the Dominican native slashed a blistering .413/.426/.674 with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, nine RBIs, nine runs scored, one stolen base, zero walks, and 11 strikeouts over 47 trips to the plate.
Despite those relatively strong numbers, Cordero could not crack the Orioles’ Opening Day roster. As such, he was granted his release from the organization on Monday.
Cordero, who does not turn 29 until September, should provide the Yankees with some experienced depth in the outfield and at first base, if needed. The Red Sox do not play their top division rivals until early June, so it will be interesting to see what kind of role — if any — Cordero has carved out for himself by then. As Jarren Duran put it on Wednesday, “it might be weird seeing him without the beard.”
(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)