The Orioles have signed former Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero to a minor-league contract, per the club’s transactions log. It is a one-year split deal that will net Cordero $1.35 million if he is in the majors and $450,000 in the minors, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray. Baltimore did not place him on its 40-man roster.
Cordero, 28, became a free agent last month after being non-tendered by the Red Sox. The native Dominican was projected to earn $1.5 million as an arbitration-eligible player next year but was cut loose by Boston well before then. He will now have the chance to earn close to that amount if he reaches the majors with Baltimore in 2023. And although Cordero will have to earn a spot on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, he should have a better chance to see more playing time with his new team.
The Red Sox originally acquired Cordero as part of the three-team, seven-player trade that sent fellow outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Royals in February 2021. In 132 games with Boston over the last two seasons, 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 across 411 total trips to the plate.
Cordero began his tenure with the Sox by posting a .497 OPS in his first 48 games before being sent down to Triple-A Worcester for the first time last May. While Cordero found success with the WooSox, he was designated for assignment in October and was subsequently re-signed to a minor-league deal.
In 2022, Cordero began the year in Worcester and was called up for the first time in late April. He proceeded to slash .282/.346/.479 with two homers and 12 RBIs in his first 25 games with the Red Sox this season and most notably hit 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.
On August 2, Cordero was sent down to Worcester. He was recalled 19 days later after Eric Hosmer was placed on the injured list and homered four times over a 12-game stretch in his return. Unfortunately, Cordero’s season was cut short on September 5 after he crashed into the left field wall at Tropicana Field and suffered a high right ankle sprain.
According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox were still intrigued with Cordero’s speed and power even after cutting him. And while Cordero was beloved from within the clubhouse, the path to additional playing time moving forward became tough to envision with both Hosmer and Casas already on the roster as left-handed hitting first basemen.
Cordero, who does not turn 29 until next September, becomes the first Red Sox free agent to sign elsewhere this winter.
(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)