Earlier in the off-season we heard that the Reds were looking at potentially dealing Francisco Cordero to free some payroll and address its other needs. Reading some of the comments about the Reds lack of interest in any free agents, doing the math and seeing that Reds are already looking to be over $80 Million after the arb awards and with no additions, I’m beginning to wonder if this won’t be the more likely route (if anything happens at all) than dealing some young cheap players for vets. Arroyo’s extension might just be an indication that Chapman isn’t being considered for the rotation down the road and may be ticketed for the late innings to combine with Masset and maybe Willis to replace Rhodes and Cordero. Following that line of thinking, I thought I’d look at some potential places to deal Cordero. Cordero is owed $12 Million in 2011 and has an option for another $12 Million in 2012 with a $1 Million buy-out. Any team taking him would be obligated to pay $13 Million guaranteed, so dealing Coco would mean the Reds get a bad contract back, send some money along with him or both. Here are some scenarios:
The Braves might be a good match. Billy Wagner retired and while adding Scott Linebrink gets a little experience, they have alluded to wanting to get somebody to mentor Ventors and Kimbrel. Cordero might appeal to Atlanta in the right deal. The Braves have Nate McClouth coming off of a bad year and owed $6.5 Million in 2011 with an option for $10.65 Million in 2012 with a $1.25 Million buy-out. McClouth’s .620 OPS in 2010 included an horrific .378 vs. LHP. He still wasn’t great against RHP posting a .685 OPS, but he’s a lefty bat who had a .788 OPS in 2009 which included 20 HR, He put up an .833 OPS vs RHP in 410 PA’s and his OBP was .352. He’s a pretty good defender in either OF corner who can play CF if needed and in 2009 he stole 19 bases so he can run a little. 2011 might be a bounce back year for him and his 2009 numbers indicate that he would be fairly capable in a platoon that addresses either of the Reds primary needs. He could lead-off in a platoon with Heisey or he could hit in the 5 hole in a platoon with Gomes. The dollar disparity would probably require the Reds kick in a Million or two, but I think it could work and may improve the team.
The LA Angels:
If the Angels land Carl Crawford, Juan Rivera might become a $5.25 Million bench player. The Angels have already shown that they aren’t satisfied with Fernando Rodney as the primary closer and are likely looking for an established guy. The team has shown a tendency to prefer Latin players and Cordero might be right up their alley. Rivera’s righty bat isn’t ideal and he profiles a lot like Gomes so he’s not helping out a ton, but a deal of say Cordero and Gomes to the Angels for Rivera and Rodney with the Reds getting a flier on Brandon Wood to boot might not be bad.
In Cordero and Gomes the Angels get a more established closer back and a cheaper similar player for the bench than what they have in Rivera. Combined, the cost of Cordero and Gomes (including Coco’s buy-out) is $14.75 Million. Rivera and Rodney combine at a cost of $10.75 Million. Wood makes the minimum and would be a non-factor in the money. The Reds would get a guy with some closing experience to mix in with Masset and Chapman at the end of the pen and Rivera would replace Gomes. The team would have a $4 Million savings to add a lefty counterpart for Rivera (Johnny Damon??). Wood is a lottery ticket at this point but could figure into the mix at SS or as a caddy for Rolen at 3B. He and Francisco might even be a lottery ticket platoon if Rolen goes on the DL at some point.
The NY Mets:
The Mets need to prevent K-Rod from finishing 55 Games in 2011 or his option for $17.5 Million in 2012 becomes guaranteed (the Mets would also save $150K in performance bonuses). Coco sharing closing duties with K-Rod might be a pretty good way to do that while deepening the Mets pen. The Mets have lots of bad contracts to send back to the Reds, but its doubtful that they would want to do core players IMO. Cordero for Jose Reyes would save the Reds a couple Million and when avoiding K-Rod’s bonuses and option are figued in, would save the Mets as well. It would certainly satisfy the Reds lead-off and SS problems if Reyes is healthy and the team would be much improved. The Mets would be left with a hole at SS. Wilmer Flores is probably the long term answer, but he just completed A+ and probably is a year or two away. Reese Havens is another young option, but he had only 75 PA’s at AA himself. Ruben Tejada would probably play SS for now if Reyes is dealt, but he’s a light hitting young option similar to suspects that the Reds have been running out there. A deal like that might work, but the Reds would probably need to kick in a little more. Carlos Beltran is another option, but it would require the Reds to take on an $18.5 Million salary with lots of injury risk or the Mets to kick in a bunch of cash and I just don’t see either of thse happening. My guess is that the most realistic option would be for the Reds to take Oliver Perez (Owed $12 Million in 2011 in his final year) and get Angel Pagan in the process. Pagan would look pretty good leading off. He’s a switch hitter, but he’s better hitting lefty against RHP so platooning him with Gomes or Heisey would make some sense. He’s a good defender. The Reds would surely prefer to substitute Luis Castillo for Perez in that deal (owed $6 Million in 2011 in his final year), but would probably require the Reds kicking some money and some more players (maybe Heisey and/or Valaika).
The Chicago Cubs:
Cordero for Kosuke Fukudome works out money wise. Fukudome makes $13.5 Million in 2011 and Cordero is owed $13 Million with the buy-out. Fukudome could play LF and lead-off. His lefty bat would help balance the line-up, he plays good defense and in spite of being viewed as a bust, his line in 2010 was .263/.371/.439/.809. A .371 OBP would really legitimize the top of the Red’s order. The Cubs would open the OF for Soriano, Byrd and Colvin to be the regulars w/o having to eat a substantial portion of any contracts. Cordero and Marmol may combine to be a decent force at the end of the Chicago pen. Cordero’s leadership with latin players might be appealing to the Cubs. He could help mentor Marmol a bit and maybe he would be a good influence on Carlos Zambrano. Its probably unlikely, but there is some logic that could motivate both sides.
The Texas Rangers:
The Rangers might be looking to add a reliever if they can’t re-sign Lee or deal for Greinke. Another option for them may be to move Neftali Feliz back to the rotation to fill the hole and add a veteran closer. Since moving CJ Wilson worked-out so well for Texas in 2010, this is not an option that they would dismiss IMO. The Rangers don’t have any horrible contracts that they want to move, so the Reds would need to kick-in quite a bit of cash in any deal, but the Rangers have money slotted to address the rotation so if they do that with Feliz, they might take on a decent portion of Cordero’s salary. David Murphy is a LH Bat along the lines of Gomes who went .298/.368/.479/.847 in 342 PA’s versus RHP in 2010. He would be a perfect complement to Gomes in a platoon batting 5th. Murphy is first time Arb eligible for his 2011 contract so he’d likely cost around $2 to $3 Million in salary. The Reds would probably need to kick in a significant amount, but say they kick in $6 Million. They cut the payroll by $3 Million in 2011, get out from under a $1 Million buy-out for 2012 and create a strong power platoon in LF. Murphy can play 1B, so a back-up for Votto would be in hand.