Griffin: Jays close to one-year deal with Francisco Cordero
According to multiple sources, as first reported by ESPN.com, the Jays' bullpen pool just got deeper. Mere hours after staging a press conference to announce a new three-year contract for starter Brandon Morrow, it was reported the Jays have reached agreement with 36-year-old closer Francisco Cordero on a one-year contract for $4.5 million US. Cordero in 2011 was 5-3 with a 2.45 ERA and 37 saves for the Reds.
It is a short term addition that provides veteran insurance for young closer, Sergio Santos. Recall that in early December, after the Jays had traded for White Sox closer, Santos, it was suggested in this space that it was risky and the club would be better served in 2012 to add a veteran from among the many free-agent options, someone to join and support the inexperienced Santos. The 26-year-old converted infielder had a nice year with the Chisox in his second season in the majors in 2011, but the fact that he had just 28 innings as a pitcher at any level before earning a spot in the majors was a concern moving forward.
The suggestion here was that Cordero would be a good choice to be signed as a free agent, because the contract for the aging, but still effective closer could be short term and also his agent was Bean Stringfellow who had already worked successfully last winter with Anthopoulos to get the Jose Bautista deal done, an important five-year deal with the Jays, reached through hard work and good faith bargaining.
The Cordero contract will be finalized once he undergoes a physical. The announced plan for the bullpen will be for Cordero to be the well-paid setup man for Santos, but heading into spring training there is a chance that his role could be more than that. He could earn the closer's role for 2012. Recall that Santos is under contract, with guaranteed years and club options, for the next six seasons through 2017. He will earn $1 million in 2012.
Over the course of Cordero's 13-year career, he has pitched for the Tigers, Rangers, Brewers and Reds, recording 327 saves with a 3.17 ERA. Armed with a 93-mph fastball, the Dominican fireballer over the last five seasons has averaged 39 saves per year with two All-Star Game appearances. Other teams reported to be interested in his services with less than a month to spring training were the Orioles, Angels and Phillies.
The Cordero signing would bring to 19 the number of Jays' roster players under contract for 2012, with just Casey Janssen remaining as arbitration-eligible.