The Orioles are in agreement with first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero, reports Robert Murray of FanSided. It will be a one-year split contract that will pay Cordero $1.35MM in the majors and $450K in the minors. The O’s announced it as a minor league deal, meaning Cordero will have to earn his way onto the 40-man roster.
Cordero, 28, has spent parts of the past six seasons in the majors, splitting his time between the Padres, Royals and Red Sox. He has long tantalized teams with his elite tools, including his speed and huge exit velocities. However, his propensity for strikeouts has limited his overall effectiveness. In 227 big league games thus far in his career, Cordero has hit 21 home runs but also struck out in 34.8% of his plate appearances. His overall batting line is currently .221/.290/.386 for a wRC+ of 83.
In 2022, he was with the Red Sox, being frequently optioned to the minors throughout the year. In 84 games with Boston, he hit .219/.300/.397, but he mashed in 31 Triple-A games to the tune of .325/.397/.590. The O’s will surely be hoping Cordero can find some way of bringing those huge results up to the majors at some point this season. The club has been reportedly looking for left-handed hitters who can pair with the right-handed-hitting Ryan Mountcastle at first base. To that end, they claimed Lewin Diaz off waivers from the Pirates today and have now added Cordero into the mix. He can also play a bit of outfield but hasn’t graded out especially well there.
The O’s have shown a willingness to get creative in trying to retain depth. They recently signed similar split deals with catcher Anthony Bemboom and outfielder Jake Cave and then placed both players on waivers. Bemboom cleared and could have rejected his outright assignment but decided to accept, presumably because the minor league portion of his split deal was attractive enough that he didn’t want to leave it on the table. Players with previous career outrights can reject outright assignments but they need to have five years of MLB service time to both reject and retain their salaries. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out in the case of Cave, as he was claimed by the Phillies today. If Cordero does earn his way back onto the roster, he would also have to be exposed to waivers if they want to send him back down since he’s out of options.