Francisco Cordero’s 2012 Option

Even at a cursory glance, Reds closer Francisco Cordero's $12MM 2012 club option stands out as one of the likeliest to be declined. That's not a jab at Cordero or the season he's put together; in fact, he's quietly enjoying a campaign that ranks among his finest: 31 saves, a 2.34 ERA and 0.96 WHIP entering Thursday's action.

Cordero will turn 37 next May, however, which represents the greatest obstacle to his hefty option being exercised. And although his surface stats indicate he's still plugging along in prime form, the peripherals suggest things aren't so rosy.

Cordero's strikeout rate has dipped each of the past four seasons, all the way down to a single-season career low of 5.69 K/9 in 2011. He's managed to limit his walks to a respectable 2.48 BB/9, and his groundball rate has spiked up to nearly 52 percent, but if you put all of this in the xFIP blender, it churns out an ugly 3.91 figure. SIERA is a bit kinder at 3.49, but either number still suggests the ERA may be a product of some good fortune.

For his part, Cordero seems to be angling for a new deal with the Reds, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, implicitly conceding that the option is likely a no-go:

“I want to stay here,” he said, “whether they pick up the option or try to work something out. They’ve got a decision to make. I’m willing to negotiate a new deal.”

Between his age, subtle decline, and the wealth of closers on the free-agent market this offseason, Cordero and his representatives at Proformance won't have much negotiating leverage, whether that be with the Reds or another team. Considering he'll be shopping his services for his ages 37 and 38 seasons, he'd do well to get a two-year deal with a total value in the $8-10MM range, although I could just as easily see him settling for one year in in a buyer's market.

As for Cordero's potential suitors, it's too soon to start guessing about the closer carousel, but I think the Reds could find a home for him. They're still undecided about Aroldis Chapman's role, and Nick Masset and Logan Ondrusek profile more as workhorse setup types.

14 Responses to Francisco Cordero’s 2012 Option Leave a Reply

  1. “Cordero’s strikeout rate has dipped each of the past four seasons, all the way down to a single-season career low of 5.69 K/9 in 2012. ”

    Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Mennella can see the future.

  2. Chapman should be closing now. He’ll probably last longer as a closer

    • Maybe. I remember Keith Law writing a couple months back that the scout types question his ability to throw on back-to-back days, though.

      • The Reds’ pitching coach has also recently said that he’d like for Chapman to start so that he can work with him more in off days.  I trust his judgment.

    • imachainsaw 4 years ago

       Who cares? he’d add more overall value as a starter. I think people forget or are in complete denial that a closer is NOTHING more than a glorified reliever that happens to accrue the most overrated stat in the sport. This whole converting to reliever because they will ‘last longer’ debacle is without basis. Nobody seems to remember that pitchers used to pitch over 300 innings per year. Most pitching injuries happen because of poor mechanics and poor conditioning, it has little to do with pitch counts and innings pitched. I mean sure, the longer you pitch with poor mechanics the more likely you are to break down, but that’s on the pitcher and pitching coaches for not correcting the problem. Not to mention that any strength and conditioning instructor should know that the only way to make muscles/tendons stronger and more durable is by working them out. Limiting by pitch counts and innings pitch is actually making pitchers WEAKER and MORE susceptible to injury.
       Now, if you look at it in terms of WAR which is pretty in-discriminant of whether you are a reliever with a special title or not, you will see that the best relievers accumulate at the most around a 4 WAR, whereas the best starters will accumulate WARs in the 7-9 range. I am not a Reds fan, they’re actually a division rival, but if I was I would be screaming and even rioting for Chapman to ultimately be a starter because that is what is best for the team. The article points out that there is an abundance of closers, pick one of those and let this guy show you what he’s really capable of. Don’t be in favor of suppressing his abilities for the sake of him ‘lasting longer’.
       Sorry for the paragraph, it’s not directed at you but everyone who thinks pitchers like Neftali Feliz and Chapman should be closers so they don’t get injured and will be just as valuable, because both arguments are nonsense. Pitchers with poor mechanics and conditioning WILL eventually get injured regardless of role. An ace starter will always be at least TWICE as valuable as an ace closer. There’s two potential number 1 starters just waiting for the opportunity to blossom, let them.

  3. Leonard Washington 4 years ago

    Cordero could still come back to Cinci provided he signs for a lot lower.

    • vtadave 4 years ago


      • Leonard Washington 4 years ago

        Do I sense some sarcasm? Seeing as half of the sites posts are reposts of insider articles trying to spin common knowledge I figured I would give it a shot. Are you saying I don’t deserve a blog at ESPN……dang. 

  4. TophersReds 4 years ago

    Chapman has a plus chaange up also, but doesn’t use it so the opposition won’t be able to see it at all until next year. That makes 3 plus pitches.

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