Cordero’s Tag to Costly To Move?


While many an expert have stated over and over where the Reds have needs including us), there is one position that I do read where the Reds could use an upgrade…closer.

The issue regarding the Reds closing situation appears to be cemented. Some Reds fans may not like the thought of going another season with Francisco Cordero filling the role, but what other choice(s) do the Reds have?

Cordero could be moved, but the situation that would involve that isn’t pleasant

Three things would have to happen for the Reds to move Cordero. And it would most likely be a mid-season move, too.

  • The Reds aren’t playing to the level they were this past season,
  • Only a team with an unproven closer AND with a shot a making the playoffs come calling, and
  • The Reds could be asked to help absorb part of Codero’s $12.125 million

An issue that could derail a potential deal is that Coco could be in the final year of his deal as there is a $12 million team option with a $1 million buyout. There’s also the added downfall that Cordero will turn 36 shortly after the beginning of the season. I don’t like thinking that way, though. I like the following one better.

Currently, Dusty Baker uses Nick Masset when Cordero needs a day off. Not a bad alternative really. Masset very well could be the closer in waiting. He’s performed adequately in those situations, but what about bringing in a reliever that has some extended closer’s experience? There’s a few out there. I have five guys that could (I stress could) draw a bit interest from the Reds.

1. Frank Francisco, Texas. Francisco was the closer for Texas in 2009. After struggling out of the gate in 2010, Rangers skipper Ron Washington made the move to go with AL Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz. Francisco did post 25 saves in that ’09 season. He made $3.3 million last season, is a Type A free agent and has been offered arbitration. The Reds would lose two picks in the 2011 amateur draft if they were to sign Francisco under MLB’s free agency rules.

2. Brian Fuentes, Minnesota. Fuentes, like Cordero, will turn 36 during the ’11 season. That would quell almost any long-term deal, but he’s been pretty darn good at closing. In 2009 as a member of the Angels, Fuentes led the AL with 48. He did have a 3.93 ERA with 7 blown saves that same season. He had 23 saves with 4 BS last year before being dealt to the Twins. In games where Fuentes registered a save, he’s brutal against opposing hitters. They hit only .173 against him. His price tag could be too high as he banked $9 million last year.

3. Kevin Gregg, Toronto. Gregg’s stints in Florida and Chicago left fans and managers with the need to keep Tums handy. Over the past four seasons, Gregg has nailed 121 saves…with 26 blown opportunities. He could also be looking for a deal a bit bigger than what the Reds would offer (if they did) as Gregg only made $2 million as the Jays stopper. He’s only 32, but he’s a Type A and was offered arbitration. Losing two picks isn’t a route the Reds would relish.

4. J.J. Putz, Chicago White Sox. Putz darted on the scene in 2006 with the Seattle Mariners. He registered 26 saves that season and followed that up with an astounding 2007. Putz had 40 saves with only 2 BS to go along with a 6-1 record and a 1.38 ERA. The one aspect of Putz during that magical ’07 season was the regularity he could hit triple digits on the gun. That changed the following season as he struggled. After 2008, Putz was dealt in a three team deal (Mariners, Mets, and Indians) after that season. The Mariners prize was Franklin Gutierrez. New York wasn’t kind to him and he latched on with the Pale Hose via free agency. 2010 was better as Putz was 7-5 with a 2.83 ERA. He’s a Type B FA that was offered arbitration meaning the Sox would get a sandwich pick if he goes elsewhere.

5. Jon Rauch, Minnesota. Rauch, like Fuentes, was not offered arbitration. After the Twins lost Joe Nathan during spring training, the closer’s job was his. The beginning of 2010 saw Rauch simply eat up AL hitters. He was relegated to setup after the Twins acquired Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals. Rauch converted 24 of 28 opportunities last year. He made $2,.9 million in 2010.

The only one of these five that was making major dough was Fuentes. The others may be available, but I believe Gregg and Francisco could be last resorts with the Reds losing two picks if they were to sign in Cincy. Fuentes, even though he wouldn’t be deemed the closer, could still be a bit too high. Rauch and Putz are the most likely candidates if the Reds go the free agent route.