The Red Sox announced Friday they will not tender 2023 contracts to outfielder Franchy Cordero and infielder Yu Chang, making both free agents.
Cordero, part of the return for Andrew Benintendi from the Royals two offseasons ago, was considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball before his 2017 debut with San Diego. He has struggled to live up to the hype, and had a forgettable tenure with the Red Sox.
Cordero hit just .209 with nine homers and a .629 OPS in two seasons. Last season, Cordero hit .219 with eight homers, and struggled to find his footing in his initial foray at first base. He and Bobby Dalbec’s underwhelming play forced the Red Sox to add Eric Hosmer at the deadline, and ultimately call up Triston Casas.
Chang appeared with four major-league teams last season, claimed off waivers from Tampa on Sept. 12. (Cleveland and Pittsburgh also designated him for assignment earlier in the year.) He hit .150 in 11 games with Boston. Always seen as infield depth, Chang would rank behind Christian Arroyo as a utility infielder should shortstop Xander Bogaerts return in 2023, but the Sox apparently felt his roster spot was better used another way even with Bogaerts’s situation unresolved.
Each player was arbitration eligible this winter. The moves leave Boston with two open spots on its 40-man roster, with eight players — Matt Barnes, Kiké Hernández, Hosmer, James Paxton, Rob Refsnyder, Chris Sale, Trevor Story, and Garrett Whitlock — already under contract for 2023.
The biggest surprise, at least in the eyes of the public, is likely the Sox opting to hang on to reliever Ryan Brasier. The 35-year-old has a 4.82 ERA and 1.316 WHIP since the start of 2019, and his 5.78 ERA in 2022 was 10th-highest in the majors among pitchers to throw at least the 62⅓ innings he did. Internally, however, the Sox remain encouraged both by his high-90s fastball and his 24.3 percent strikeout rate a year ago.