Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Reds have approached closer Francisco Cordero, and that the two sides are working towards a deal. This would figure to top the Brewers current offer of four years, $42 million. This would be a major step for a team that finished 18 games below .500 in baseball’s worst division in 2007.
According to Rosenthal, the Reds have emerged as front runners. Competing are the Brewers and a mystery team, possibly the Yankees, who expressed interest in Cordero if Mariano Rivera bolted town. The closer has since returned, though, likely eliminating the Yankees from consideration. The Astros are also believed to be interested in Cordero, though the same can be said for about 80 percent of the free agent market.
This would move David Weathers back to a setup role, where he would fit in well. The Reds bullpen would still be weak, but at least they’d improve on their league-worst 54.8 percent save conversion rate.
It appears that the Reds front office believes the team can contend in the next two years. Why else give big money (and forfeit a second round pick) for a big-name closer? The Reds have considerable young talent in Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Edwin Encarnacion, in addition to Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn.
Combined with Scott Hatteberg, who had an effective year in limited duty, the Reds might actually have a logjam of sorts in the outfield and first base. Could they possibly move some of the excess for some pitching help? Adding another bullpen arm or a starter to go along with Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, and Homer Bailey could be the keys to the Reds contention.
Joe Pawlikowski is co-author of River Ave. Blues.