The New York Yankees suffered some noteworthy injuries in Spring Training, including one that sidelined center fielder and playoff star Harrison Bader. It was on a motley crew of backups like Oswaldo Cabrera, Aaron Hicks, and newcomer Franchy Cordero to stabilize things.
Cordero, who came up with the San Diego Padres before being passed around between the Kansas City Royals and the hated Boston Red Sox, was seen by many as a momentary stopgap that would be cast aside when the big names returned. That thought has been made irrelevant very quickly.
Cordero is hitting .286, with two of his six hits being clutch home runs in New York's series win on the road against the Baltimore Orioles. On Tuesday, he added another three-run shot to extend the team's much-needed lead against the Guardians. Through the weekend's action, Cordero was tied with Aaron Judge for the team lead in RBI with seven. As of Wednesday, he now leads all by himself with 10. No one, especially the rival Red Sox, saw this coming.
Cordero playing well is one thing, but Cordero doing this while the Red Sox have to stew and watch him crush it for their most hated rival makes his recent hot start even sweeter. If he keeps hitting at a level even approximating this, the Yankees can really twist the knife deeper into Boston's gut.
Franchy Cordero slugging for Yankees, burning Red Sox
Cordero hit just .209 with nine home runs in 134 games with the Red Sox, so the Yankees clearly weren't expecting anything close to what he had provided early in his professional career. Considering how the Red Sox always turn also-ran hitters into stars in the blink of an eye, it's nice to see the Yankees do the same.
Cordero has performed at a time when Aaron Hicks has played terribly to begin the season. Despite the fact he believes he is worthy of an everyday spot, Hicks is playing so poorly (he hasone hit all season long) that Cordero has firmly jumped up ahead of him in the pecking order.
While he was never the most consistent hitter at any of his stops, Cordero always had power from the left side. Whatever the Yankees did with Matt Carpenter turned him around, and Cordero might end up getting a similar treatment if he stays hot.
When Bader returns, the Yankees may need to make a very difficult choice if Cordero is still in the lineup and mashing. The Hicks contract is an albatross, but Cordero shining as a left-handed power hitter and middle finger to Massachusetts is worth more.