By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox traded Andrew Benintendi on Wednesday night in a three-team trade, acquiring five players in the deal. We really only know two of the players coming to Boston, but the highlight of the package is promising young outfielder Franchy Cordero.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
Boston received Cordero from the Kansas City Royals, replacing Benintendi with a 26-year-old with a big swing and a big arm. The Dominican native was originally signed by the Padres in 2011 and made his MLB debut in 2017 when former Red Sox prospect Manuel Margot (send to San Diego in the trade package for closer Craig Kimbrel) went down with an injury.
Cordero played in 30 games in 2017, and then another 40 in 2018 before an elbow injury ended his season in May. He hit .237 with 33 hits, seven homers, 19 RBIs and 19 runs scored in 2018, and one of those homers was an absolute moon shot, traveling 489 feet.
“He hits the ball about as hard as anyone in the big leagues,” Boston chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said of Cordero late Wednesday night.
Cordero also struck out 55 times in just 154 plate appearances, so there’s a whiff of Wily Mo Pena with all those strikeouts. He’s struck out 110 times in 95 big league games over four seasons, drawing just 28 walks.
He made San Diego’s Opening Day roster in 2019, but a right elbow sprain limited him to just nine games that season. Cordero was dealt to the Royals last July, but played in just 16 games because of a sprained right wrist. In those 16 games, Cordero hit .211 with a pair of homers.READ MORE: Spurs Best Celtics 96-88 Despite Blowing 24-Point Lead
Cordero has yet to play more than 40 games in a season, with injuries limiting him to just 95 major league games since making his debut. For his career, the 6-foot-3 lefty has hit .236 with a .433 slugging percentage, 12 home runs, 12 doubles, four triples and 36 RBIs over 315 plate appearances.
Bloom didn’t sound too concerned with Cordero’s injury history, saying it’s been a series of freak injuries that have shelved the outfielder.
“He certainly has battled some injuries but whose upside, whose talent is as good as anyone on the field whenever he’s on it,” said Bloom. “We’re optimistic he can be a big part of this thing. … We feel there’s untapped upside that he’s shown at certain points, especially last summer.”
Cordero has seen most of his playing time in center field, with 344 innings over four seasons, plus another 207 innings in left. He will likely be asked to play left field in Boston, with Alex Verdugo in center and Hunter Renfroe in right field.
“He’s a very different type of player from Benny, but I think he can step right into that role,” said Bloom. “Obviously, we need to get to know him and see exactly the role that he can play, but historically, he’s been a guy who can play all three outfield positions.”MORE NEWS: Moderna Seeks To Develop Variant-Specific Boosters For COVID-19 Mutations Like Omicron
Cordero will be under the Red Sox’ control through 2023. Boston also acquired two players to be named later from Kansas City, plus right-handed pitching prospect Josh Winckowski and another player to be named from the New York Mets.