|CHAD CORDERO / MLB.COM|
Why didn??t I think of this earlier?
With the free agent market lacking any type of talented, young pitcher worth inserting into the closers role for 2007, just question marks like Eric Gagne and setup men like Aaron Heilman and Scott Shields through trades, I figured Theo would have to pull a rabbit out of his hat to have any security at the end of games next season. Rumors are now surfacing that Theo has called up idiotic Nats GM Jim Bowden with an offer for their 24-year old closer Chad Cordero. This deal includes projected superstar Wily Mo Pena and would likely include a pitcher (I would think Theo starts with guys like Pauley and Hansack before offering Michael Bowden).
24-year old closer Chad Cordero. With three years of closing experience. Might be available.
Excuse me if I??m a little choked up with tears of happiness.
Granted, I love Pena. I can see him turning into a 40 HR, 120 RBI someday in the future, and I have long congratulated the scrutinized Epstein after the Arroyo swap because of his potential. Nobody can deny that Pena has the chance to mold into something special. But, many things stick out as concerns. Number one, Wily Mo is a DH and is utterly incapable of playing the tricky right field at Fenway. Centerfield, in my opinion, is out of the question and would involve us moving Coco. Left field, as well, would mean Manny is dealt. His strikeouts are numerous, the poor defense evident, the clumsiness laughable, and whether or not Pena may turn that talent into stardom is yet to be determined.
As Red Sox fans, we know two things right now. As Pedroia looks to be the starting second baseman next season, and J.D. Drew is close on a deal with Boston, there are two glaring holes yet to be plugged: shortstop and closer. Maybe even a setup man, if we??re not willing to go with Timlin, Delcarmen and Hansen. The closer position looks like it??s going to be the hardest to fill because of the unwillingness for most teams to trade their respective stoppers and the lack of a B.J. Ryan in this years market. If Chad Cordero is indeed available for negotiations, Theo needs to jump on the opportunity.
His ERA??s have been 2.94, 1.82 and 3.19. The worst hit/inning ratio of those three years was 82 IP, 68 H back in 2004. In 2005, he notched 47 saves while posting an BAA of .198. Last season, his numbers were just as solid- 3.19 ERA, 88% save chance rate, 1.10 WHIP, .215 BAA.
Why am I high on Cordero? First, let??s look at the raw statistics. Since being thrown into the closers role at the age of 21, Cordero has excelled and more. His ERA??s have been 2.94, 1.82 and 3.19. The worst hit/inning ratio of those three years was 82 IP, 68 H back in 2004. In 2005, he notched 47 saves while posting an BAA of .198. Last season, his numbers were just as solid- 3.19 ERA, 88% save chance rate, 1.10 WHIP, .215 BAA. That doesn??t even tell half of the story.
I did some more research and it turns out Cordero gave up 10 HR in the first half in 42 IP and only 3 HR in the second half in 31.3 IP, so his higher HR rate may have just come along by a bad stretch. In that second half, Cordero had a 2.30 ERA (season 3.19), 2.0 BB/9 (gotta love it when closers don??t walk batters), 0.9 HR/9 and 7.5 K/9. His higher ERA may also result from that bad stretch where he surrendered 10 ER in 2.3 IP. If you take that out of his season ERA, it??s 2.03. That is a major difference.
The bottom line is also this: HE??S 24 YEARS OLD. Imagine adding a 26 and 25 year old to your rotation and a 24 year old to your bullpen in the same off-season. With ridiculous contracts flying around the FA market like Juan Pierre, Gary Matthews and Alfonso Soriano, signings like Crisp and Beckett all of a sudden don??t look so bad (but that??s a whole different article in itself). We??d have control of Cordero until 2010, when he is a free agent.
But then again, why the hell would Bowden want Wily Mo Pena so much?
We??ve outlined his potential, and it??s been reported Bowden has a man crush on Pena dating back to their Cincinnati years. From a baseball standpoint, the Nationals are now left with a gap in left field and a gap in the middle of their lineup. Pena can fill both holes and would form a dynamic duo with Ryan Zimmerman for years to come. Throw in Michael Bowden, a 20-year old pitcher ranked #3 in the Sox farm system, and we may have a deal. I??d even be willing to discuss Clay Buccholz.
Listen, the possibility of this trade going down is probably 2.5%. I realize that. Still, the rumor has surfaced and the chance is out there, so maybe Bowden and Epstein can find a deal that works for both sides. It??s not that far-fetched as people may believe. The Nationals need a left fielder and a #5 hitter, and the Red Sox desperately need a closer, while the Nats have some decent bullpen talent to fill the role of Cordero, like Jon Rauch and Ryan Wagner.
It worked with Drew so let??s give it another shot: GET ON THE PHONE, THEO!