Mariners Sign Chad Cordero
Former Nationals closer Chad Cordero made something clear when he talked about his eventual comeback to the big leagues: He wanted to be a closer. Late yesterday, he backed that up with action, turning down more lucrative deals from other teams to get a legitimate shot at a closer's job with the Seattle Mariners.
According to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, the Mariners singed Cordero to a one-year, minor league deal. There's no word on what Cordero will make, but FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal is confirming that he was offered more money elsewhere, despite the fact that the Twins and other teams that were interested feel like he's still multiple months away from being able to pitch at the level he's accustomed to.
"This was definitely not the best offer," Cordero's agent, Larry Reynolds said. "It's strictly an opportunity move. He put most of his emphasis on the best chance of closing. He thought this was a good opportunity for that."
Cordero is expected to be in the team's major league camp by Saturday, if not today, and will throw his hat into the ring of an old-fashioned fight out for the the spot at the back of the team's bullpen. It's an interesting race, with five guys already battling it out for the closers job before you throw Cordero into the mix. According to Stone, the early leader may be former Red Sox fireballer (and Rice University product) David Aardsma, who has gone through four appearances (four total innings) without allowing a run.
Of course, even if Aardsma gets the job at first, that doesn't mean Cordero won't end up with it. Aardsma had both injury and control problems in Boston last year, and he's never really had to pitch in anything close to a closers role before (he made brief cameos as a set-up man in 2008, but spent much more time in the sixth and seventh innings when he was healthy).
All of that points to a realistic shot for Cordero to get back the role he relished over at RFK, assuming he can find a way to be ready to play, as the Mariners think he can, by April or May, though general manager Jack Zduriencik, at least publicly, is allowing for a longer view, too.
"We are going to take it one step at a time, but we are optimistic that Chad can help us this season," said Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. "Chad has been a quality major-league closer and we look forward to his contributions to our ballclub in 2009."
Is this a good move by Cordero? What about the Mariners? Any hurt feelings over Chad's departure from the Nats, or is everyone happy he'll get another chance to close with a team that won't play against the Nats 6-19 times a year?
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