The Red Sox have elected not to tender 2023 contracts to infielder Yu Chang and first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero, the club announced on Friday night. As a result, both Chang and Cordero are now free agents.
Chang, 27, was claimed off waivers from the Rays in early September. The versatile right-handed hitter went 3-for-20 (.150) with two doubles, one RBI, three runs scored, five walks, and seven strikeouts in 11 games with the Red Sox, his fourth and final team of the 2022 season.
A former top prospect out of Taiwan who first broke in with the Guardians in 2019, Chang was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $900,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Taitung native is now free to explore opportunities elsewhere, though the Red Sox may look to bring him back on a minor-league contract.
Cordero, meanwhile, was one of three players the Red Sox acquired from the Royals in the three-team trade that sent fellow outfielder Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City in February 2021. The left-handed hitter posted a dismal .497 OPS across 48 games in his first season with Boston and was designated for assignment last October.
After clearing waivers, Cordero was subsequently re-signed. The 28-year-old opened the 2022 season with Triple-A Worcester before having his contract selected in late April. He batted .282/.346/.479 in his first 25 games with the Sox this past season and most notably hit a walk off grand slam against the Mariners at Fenway Park on May 22.
But Cordero began to struggle again as the season progressed. He slumped to the tune of a .162 batting average in the month of July and was sent back down to Worcester on August 2. Eric Hosmer being placed on the injured list towards the end of the month led to Cordero being recalled. The native Dominican proceeded to belt four home runs in his first 12 games back with the club, but he saw his season prematurely come to an end on September 5 after crashing into the right field wall at Tropicana Field and suffering a right ankle sprain.
In 132 total games with the Red Sox over the last two years, Cordero slashed just .209/.279/.350 with 23 doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 38 RBIs, 48 runs scored, 36 walks, and 143 strikeouts across 411 plate appearances. He put up those numbers while grading poorly as a defender at both first base and in the outfield.
As is the case with Chang, the Red Sox could look to reunite with Cordero — who was projected to earn $1.5 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility — by way of a lesser or a minor-league deal for the 2023 campaign. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Boston “remains intrigued with Cordero’s tools and he is a beloved clubhouse presence.”
With two left-handed hitting first basemen in Hosmer and Triston Casas already on the big-league roster, though, it would presumably be difficult to find Cordero any meaningful playing time next year.
By non-tendering Chang and Cordero, the Red Sox have created two spots on their 40-man roster, which now sits at 38 players. Eight of those players are already under contract for 2023. The other 30 unsigned players will be tendered contracts and will negotiate their salaries for next season in the near future.
While Rafael Devers headlines that group, Ryan Brasier, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor are among those who were considered non-tender candidates earlier in the week. They will instead be tendered contracts alongside other arbitration-eligible players such as Nick Pivetta, Alex Verdugo, Christian Arroyo, and Reese McGuire.
(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)