Reds, Cordero Reach Preliminary Agreement
The Cincinnati Reds, making their first big acquisition of the Dusty Baker era, have reached a preliminary agreement with free-agent closer Francisco Cordero on a four-year, $46 million contract, major-league sources say.
The deal, which is pending a physical, is the largest four-year contract ever given to a closer. It includes a club option for a fifth year that can bring the total value of the package to $57 million.
The Brewers, who also are on the verge of losing free-agent setup man Scott Linebrink to the White Sox, offered Cordero a four-year, $42 million contract to remain with the club, sources say.
The losses of both Linebrink and Cordero could push the Brewers into the trade market for bullpen help. Outfielder Bill Hall and two starting pitchers — left-hander Chris Capuano and righty Dave Bush — are among their players drawing interest.
Cordero, 32, will fill a major void for the Reds, who last season converted only 54.8 percent of their save opportunities, the lowest percentage in the National League.
The Reds can now return right-hander David Weathers to a setup role and use right-hander Jared Burton in the seventh inning, or even reverse those roles.
The team, also looking for help in its starting rotation, could look to clear payroll, perhaps by moving outfielder Ryan Freel, who will earn $3 million next season, and first baseman Scott Hatteberg, who will earn $1.85 million.
Cordero converted 44 of 51 opportunities last season while going 0-4 with a 2.98 ERA and striking out 86 in 63 1/3 innings. He made the All-Star team for the second time in his career.