In looking at Francisco Cordero's 2012 option earler this week, MLBTR's Dan Mennella speculated that the Reds will probably decline the $12MM commitment. He's very likely correct, but according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati may not have to make that decision. Cordero is willing to re-negotiate the option, and the Reds have interest in working out a new extension with their closer of the past four seasons.
General manager Walt Jocketty said the Reds have discussed an extension "quite a bit" but haven't made a final decision;they're hoping to make that call before season's end.
As Fay points out, the Reds don't have an obvious replacement for Cordero on their roster and would likely have to sign another one. The team is leaning toward using Aroldis Chapman in the starting rotation next year, Nick Masset has been decent but not great, and while Bill Bray's numbers appear nice, his career numbers against right-handers aren't overly impressive (.262/.327/.424 triple slash line).
Cordero is in the midst of a brilliant season; the 37-year-old righty has a 2.30 ERA with 32 saves and a career-low 2.4 BB/9 in 62 2/3 innings to date. However his 5.7 K/9 is also a career-low, and his average fastball velocity, while still a solid 93mph, is down considerably from when he averaged 94-96mph routinely from 2003-2008. Cordero posted a 10.3 K/9 over 432 1/3 innings in that stretch.
It's tough to see an extension for Cordero guaranteeing anything other than two more years, perhaps with a club option for the 2014 season, when he'd be 40 years old. Cordero has expressed his desire to stay in Cincinnati, and we saw the Reds go down a similar path with Bronson Arroyo last offseason, working out a three-year extension as he entered what would have been an option year (though they exercised his option first). A two-year deal to replace the $12MM option may have to guarantee Cordero more than that dollar amount, but perhaps his desire to remain a Red would lead to a discount.