Well, here’s a Friday news dump if ever there was one.
Jimmy Cordero, who pitched in half of the 60 White Sox games in the shortened 2020 season, had sufficient damage to his elbow that it required Tommy John surgery.
Multiple beat reporters said the surgery was successfully performed by Dr. James Andrews yesterday in Gulf Breeze, Fla.
An optimistic take on his prognosis would have Cordero ready to flex his biceps again for the White Sox next spring — but even his superhuman right arm will not recover in time to pitch in the 2021 season.
Cordero was flagged as a case of overuse by White Sox manager Ricky Renteria in 2020, throwing in 30 games but just 26 2⁄3 innings. His 6.08 ERA represented some real betrayal by his fielders given a 3.87 FIP. While Baseball-Reference murdered him for value in 2020 (-0.8 bWAR), in the same number of games in 2019 Cordero put up a 2.75 ERA/2.74 FIP and produced 1.1 bWAR value, which is ridiculously good.
This spring, Cordero pitched in two games and 1 2⁄3 innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on a homer, two walks and a strikeout. Marcels’ admittedly-weak (39% accuracy) projection for the righty’s 2021 was a 4.57 ERA and 1.338 WHIP in 65 games.
Which Cordero we would have seen this year — remarkably efficient, or hard-luck — is anyone’s guess. But we won’t see the biceps flash again until 2022.
Shifting into true vulture mode, how does Cordero’s injury help shape the 2021 staff?
Well, barring surprises, it would seemingly ensure a relief spot for Reynaldo López, who looks to be getting squeezed out of the rotation by Carlos Rodón.
Rodón and López could work as a tandem, creating in essence a six-man rotation squeezed into five spots, with Rodón and López serving as a lefty-righty combo to ensure the White Sox six or seven innings per game. In the case of Rodón running five strong, manager Tony La Russa can pull back López and still use him for hasty firefighting work in case of injury or a shelled start from White Sox starters Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Lance Lynn or Dylan Cease.
Bullpen spots are seemingly assured to Michael Kopech, Garrett Crochet, Liam Hendriks, Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Matt Foster. The eighth man, presuming 13 arms on the roster, would have come down to Cordero or López.