Francisco Cordero Rumors
The Angels are one of five or five teams with "serious interest" in free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, agent Paul Kinzer told Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. DiGiovanna notes that earlier this month Angels GM Jerry Dipoto described his interest level in Ramirez as "lower, but I never close the door on anyone."
Ramirez is open to playing on the West Coast, Kinzer told DiGiovanna. With full no-trade rights this summer, Ramirez was not so flexible. DiGiovanna believes Ramirez could make a decision on his new team at next week's Winter Meetings. On November 14th, Kinzer told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports Ramirez seeks a four-year deal or three years with an option.
The Angels are interested in relievers Matt Capps, Heath Bell, Francisco Cordero, Octavio Dotel, and Scott Linebrink, adds DiGiovanna. They're also very interested in starter C.J. Wilson, who's touring the country meeting with suitors.
Francisco Cordero was already drawing interest from several teams this offseason, but the free agent closer became even more attractive on the open market when his Type A status was modified into a Type B by the new collective bargaining agreement. Now the team that signs Cordero doesn't have to give up a first-round draft pick as compensation, which is good news for the several teams with unprotected first-rounders that have targeted the 36-year-old.
Cordero has been one of the more effective and durable closers in the game, averaging 71 innings, an even 3.00 ERA and a 9.2 K/9 rate over the last nine seasons. Though he turns 37 next year, Cordero seems to be throwing as well as ever at first glance -- he posted a 2.45 ERA for the Reds in 2011, allowed a career-low 6.3 H/9, and approached career bests with a 2.8 BB/9 rate and a 1.019 WHIP.
A look at the advanced metrics, however, reveals some major red flags. Cordero also achieved his lowest K/9 rate in any full season, striking out just 5.4 batters per nine innings. His xFIP of 4.14 and his BABIP of .214 indicate that Cordero had some luck on his side last year, and the fact that his ground ball rate rose to a career-high 50% is another curious indicator. Generating grounders at the Great American Ballpark is a nice strategy, but it is more likely a sign that Cordero is starting to lose his strikeout prowess.
The Reds declined Cordero's $12MM option for 2012 but there was mutual interest in both parties in a new multiyear contract. Cordero told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that while the Reds were still in the "hunt," he would go elsewhere unless Cincinnati upped its offer.
Joe Nathan's two-year, $14.75MM deal with the Rangers would seem to be the baseline for a new Cordero contract. Both Cordero and Nathan will be pitching in their age-37 season in 2012, and while Nathan enjoyed more elite years than Cordero has, Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and only showed flashes of his old self in his return to the mound last yera. Cordero and his representatives at Proformance can credibly argue that Cordero is worth more given his track record of durability.
Of the nine contenders who have been linked to the right-hander, we can eliminate Texas since they've already got Nathan. Spending big on a closer seems like an unlikely move for the Mets, Blue Jays and Rays, the latter of whom already has Kyle Farnsworth under contract for 2012. Both L.A. teams could be interested in having a veteran presence at the end of games, but given how impressive Jordan Walden and Javy Guerra looked for the Angels and Dodgers last year, bringing Cordero into the fold would seem unnecessary.
This leaves the Red Sox, Marlins and Reds. Boston has a need at closer with Jonathan Papelbon gone to Philadelphia, but the Red Sox won't want to risk another expensive disaster on the free agent market if Cordero is really on a downward arc in his career and doesn't get any BABIP luck at Fenway. Miami already seem to have moved past Juan Carlos Oviedo and has been seemingly connected to every free agent this winter; signing an established veteran like Cordero would be one of those headline signings that the Marlins seem intent on making to prove that they're serious about contending in 2012.
As for Cincinnati, the amount of interest in Cordero would seem to preclude a hometown discount, but he could return if the Reds boost their offer at least into the ballpark of what Cordero's other offers. In Tim Dierkes' Offseason Outlook piece on the Reds, however, Tim warned that paying Cordero $5MM or more per year is "a market inefficiency the Reds should avoid." Nathan's deal might have priced the Reds out of Cordero's range if the team has similar reservations about its former stopper.
Another team to throw into the mix are the Twins, who are looking for a veteran closer. They haven't been connected to Cordero yet but the two sides would seem to be a decent match.
A three-year deal for Cordero would be ill-advised, but his decision might come down to which team offers him the most incentive-filled two-year pact or possibly even a vesting option for a third year. I'd expect Cordero to get a two-year deal worth around $16MM, with some type of club option for 2014 that could be tied to innings or appearances. I'd guess he ends up pitching in Miami or Minnesota next season, with a return to Cincinnati lurking as the upset possibility.
10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Giants won't offer arbitration to Pat Burrell (B) or Cody Ross (B) according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Carlos Beltran (A) contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Dodgers declined to offer Hiroki Kuroda (B) arbitration, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter). Rod Barajas (B) already signed with the Pirates.
- The Pirates offered arbitration to Derrek Lee (B) while declining to offer Ryan Ludwick (B) and Chris Snyder (B) arbitration. Ryan Doumit (B) already signed with the Twins.
- The Phillies did not offer Roy Oswalt (A) or Brad Lidge (B) arbitration, according to the AP (via ESPN). The team announced that it offered arbitration to Raul Ibanez (B), Ryan Madson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), and Jimmy Rollins (A), according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Cubs offered arbitration to Carlos Pena (B) and Aramis Ramirez (B) but not to Kerry Wood (B), according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Cardinals offered Edwin Jackson (B) and Albert Pujols (A) arbitration, but declined to make offers to Rafael Furcal (B) and Arthur Rhodes (B), according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). That leaves Octavio Dotel (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary).
- The Mets offered Jose Reyes (A) arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- The Padres will offer arbitration to Heath Bell (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Aaron Harang (B), tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Brewers offered Prince Fielder (A) and Francisco Rodriguez (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) arbitration. They declined to offer Yuniesky Betancourt (B) arbitration. Takashi Saito (A), contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Braves did not offer arbitration to Alex Gonzalez (B), according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Teams with automatic decisions only:
- Reds: Francisco Cordero (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary), Ramon Hernandez (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary)
- Astros: Clint Barmes (B, already signed with Pirates)
- Rockies: Mark Ellis (B, already signed with Dodgers)
Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Octavio Dotel, Ramon Hernandez and Darren Oliver were all Type A free agents under the Elias Rankings system, but they will now be treated as Type B free agents, the MLBPA announced. Teams won't have to surrender draft picks to sign them, but the players' former teams obtain a supplementary first round pick whether or not they offer arbitration tomorrow.
Meanwhile, clubs won't have to surrender a draft pick to sign one of the following six players: Heath Bell, Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Madson, Josh Willingham and Francisco Rodriguez. Teams that lose these players after offering arbitration will obtain first round picks in the slot before the signing team plus a supplementary draft pick for a total of two selections.
Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Roy Oswalt, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins were also Type A free agents this offseason. They will cost one draft pick to sign. Their teams will obtain two total picks if they decline offers of arbitration to sign elsewhere, as expected. Takashi Saito and Carlos Beltran, two other Type As, cannot be offered arbitration. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the changes.
In an interview with Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio, Francisco Cordero said that unless the Reds increase their most recent contract offer, he will leave Cincinnati. The Reds are still in the "hunt," however, along with other teams who have shown interest in the free agent closer: the Angels, Blue Jays, Rangers, Rays and Red Sox (all Twitter links).
The Rays and Rangers are new additions to a busy market for Cordero that also includes the Dodgers, Marlins and Mets. As a Type A free agent, Cordero would cost his new team a first round draft pick as compensation to the Reds if that new team didn't have a protected pick. This presumes, of course, that Cordero turns down the Reds' offer of arbitration and that the Type A compensation rules aren't changed by the new collective bargaining agreement.
Of Cordero's known suitors, the Angels, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Rangers, Rays and Red Sox all have unprotected picks, though the Jays and Sox each currently have two picks in the first round of next year's draft. Toronto's extra pick is compensation for not signing Tyler Beede last year, while Boston currently possesses the Phillies' first round pick (31st overall) as compensation for Philadelphia's signing of Jonathan Papelbon.
The latest from The Queen City, courtesy of MLB.com's Mark Sheldon ...
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty said the team and second baseman Brandon Phillips have "made progress, but we're not close" in negotiations for a contract extension. The Reds have already exercised Phillips' 2012 option, so he's in the fold for next season, but he has been vocal about wanting a multiyear extension beyond that for a while now. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculated recently that the Reds are probably hoping to extend Phillips, 30, for something like four years and $48MM, while Sheldon points out that the Dan Uggla's five-year, $62MM pact with the Braves last offseason is a recent high-water mark for second basemen.
- As well, there have been "no new developments" between the Reds and free agent closer Francisco Cordero, according to Sheldon. Jocketty did not meet with Cordero's agent during the General Manager Meetings earlier this week in Milwaukee. "If we did not sign Coco, we'd first look outside of the organization," Jocketty said.
At least seven teams have expressed interest in free agent right-hander Francisco Cordero, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Cordero's agent Bean Stringfellow told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon as much yesterday, but Morosi also names many of the clubs who have interest in Cordero: the Red Sox, Reds, Blue Jays, Marlins, Dodgers, Angels, and Mets.
Although Jonathan Papelbon is off the market, Cordero is one of many closers still available, along with Ryan Madson, Heath Bell, and Francisco Rodriguez, among others. The Reds declined their option on the 36-year-old Cordero at season's end, despite a successful 2011 campaign in which he posted a 2.45 ERA and reduced his BB/9 to 2.8.
The Astros are likely to leave the NL Central after the 2012 season. Here's the latest on some teams that are staying in the division...
- Seven or eight teams, including the Reds, have inquired on free agent closer Francisco Cordero, agent Bean Stringfellow told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Cordero is interested in returning to the Reds on a multiyear deal.
- The Cubs announced that Shiraz Rehman joined their front office as an assistant to GM Jed Hoyer. The 34-year-old spent six seasons with the Diamondbacks after interning with Hoyer, Theo Epstein and the Red Sox in 2005. He'll provide Hoyer with scouting and statistical information for possible acquisitions and coordinate the Cubs' technological efforts.
- Compensation talks between the Cubs and Red Sox for Theo Epstein are progressing amicably, Epstein told Alex Speier of WEEI.com. “I know I’m right, because I know my own faults better than Ben does," Epstein said. "I know my limitations. I’m just not worth that much. But I’m sure it will work out, one way or the other, in a way that satisfies all the parties involved."
- The Cubs will conduct a second round of managerial interviews, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin are the candidates for the position.
- The Pirates checked in on Josh Willingham and Kevin Kouzmanoff, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Pittsburgh has Pedro Alvarez at third and Alex Presley in the outfield, but the team appears to be considering depth options at those positions.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington jokes that he has tried to forget the 2008 trade that sent Jason Bay to Boston, according to Speier. The Pirates obtained Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen, Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris in a deal that Huntington considers his worst trade ever.
- Rod Barajas told reporters, including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that he had offers from other teams before signing with the Pirates. He'll be the primary catcher in Pittsburgh, which figured in to his decision.
Congratulations to this year’s Silver Slugger winners. Here are the latest links from around MLB...
- Agent Joe Urbon told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that Grady Sizemore is "open to anything" and "not limiting his choices at all." Several teams have already expressed preliminary interest in the free agent outfielder. Ideally he would play center field, but he's open to playing left or right.
- Over at FanGraphs, MLBTR writer Mike Axisa explains why Andrew Brackman was the most expensive draft bust in baseball history. The Yankees cut ties with the former first round pick yesterday.
- Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner offers his offseason plan for the Mariners. It revolves around acquiring Joey Votto from the Reds and includes contract offers for former Seattle left-handers Jamie Moyer and Erik Bedard. In my offseason outlook for the Mariners, I suggested it makes sense for the team to pursue rotation and bullpen depth.
- Second baseman Brandon Phillips told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he has “some leverage” in contract talks with the Reds. Fay suggests Phillips is looking for a deal in the $38-62MM range. The Reds, who picked up Phillips’ $12MM option for 2012 earlier in the week, intend to continue discussing an extension.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Fay that he remains hopeful that the team can reach a deal with Francisco Cordero. Jocketty nearly arrived at an agreement with the closer earlier this week, but the sides didn't agree to terms and the Reds declined their option on Cordero.
- The Fielding Bible recently announced its 2011 winners. Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre and Troy Tulowitzki were among those rewarded for defensive excellence.
The Reds announced that they exercised Brandon Phillips' 2012 option and declined their option for Francisco Cordero (Twitter link). The Reds will pay Cordero a $1MM buyout instead of a $12MM salary and they'll pay Phillips a $12MM salary instead of a $1MM buyout.
Phillips, 30, hit .300/.353/.457 with 18 homers in 674 plate appearances for Cincinnati in 2011. He has made his desire for an extension clear, stating in September that it would feel like “a slap in my face” if the Reds pick up the option without talking long-term deal. But if the sides do discuss an extension, don't expect a hometown discount "There’s no homeboy hookup. That ain’t going to work," Phillips said.
The Reds discussed an extension for Cordero, a Type A free agent, toward the end of the regular season. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained in his recent offseason outlook article that the Reds "can't afford to commit $5MM a year for two more seasons of Cordero."