Red Sox must stop pretending Franchy Cordero is a first baseman
Cordero has been a defensive disaster for the Red Sox
This defensive performance was a disaster but unfortunately, it’s been a common theme when Cordero is at first base. He’s been charged with eight errors as a first baseman this season, the second-most in the majors at the position, per FanGraphs.
That’s particularly troubling when you consider he’s only logged 299 innings at first base. Every other major league fist baseman with 5+ errors this season has spent over 400 innings at the position. Cordero is the only first baseman with fewer than 300 innings to commit more than three errors. He’s making an error roughly once ever 38 innings. At this pace, his error total would more than double anyone else at the position if he were an everyday first baseman with 800+ innings so far this season.
Cordero’s -1 defensive runs saved and -2 Outs Above Average might suggest a slightly below-average first baseman but those metrics are more alarming in the context of his small sample size. Only seven major league first basemen have produced -2 DRS or worse in fewer than 300 innings. Every first baseman worse than -2 OAA has logged at least 350 innings at the position and most of them have at least doubled that workload.
Dalbec hasn’t been prone to as many mistakes with only two errors in 516 1/3 innings at fist base but he’s still an abysmal defensive player. His -5 DRS is tied for the second-worst in the majors at the position he’s been nearly as bad as Cordero with -1 OAA.
The Red Sox can’t pretend that they are making an honest effort to climb back into the Wild Card race if they continue to roll with Cordero and Dalbec at first base. Unfortunately, their injury-ravaged roster has limited options. With Rafael Devers on the IL, Dalbec has been playing third base with Cordero locked in at first. Former Gold Glove award-winner Yolmer Sanchez has experience at the hot corner but he’s needed at second base while Trevor Story is sidelined. The versatile Christian Arroyo is still working his way back from an injury.
Boston went from having an abundance of depth in the infield to a dangerously thin group to cover those positions. Those injured players should return relatively soon but the Red Sox cannot wait for them as their playoff hopes slip away. Even when they are back at full strength, first base remains a major weakness at the plate and in the field.
Dalbec finally showed signs off life with a two-homer game and Cordero partially made up for his defensive blunders by recording a hit, a walk and scoring three runs in the narrow loss to Cleveland. Despite those strong performances at the plate, Red Sox first basemen are 28th in the majors with 75 wRC+ this season. Combine their offensive woes with their defensive struggles and it’s clear this team is in desperate need of an upgrade at first base.