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Nats avoid arbitration with Cordero

The Nationals announced they signed closer Chad Cordero to a one-year, $6.2-million contract, thus avoiding arbitration with the 25-year-old.

Cordero ranks second on the Montreal/Washington franchise's all-time saves list with 128, trailing only Jeff Reardon's 152, so he could become the all-time leader this coming summer. He made $4.15 million in 2007, when he and the Nationals went to arbitration. Cordero won that case, the only loss for the club since it arrived in Washington.

In 299 career appearances, Cordero is 20-14 with 128 saves and a 2.79 ERA. General Manager Jim Bowden has recently praised Cordero as the anchor of what he considers the team's strength - the bullpen. Though Cordero has come up in numerous trade discussions over the past two years - including deep discussions with the New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks at last year's trade deadline - the Nationals may well be happy to have him for a while.

Cordero is eligible for arbitration one more time, then would become a free agent after the 2009 season. Of course, he has been the subject of some debate among hard-core Nationals fans - some who are big supporters and love his chest-thumping wasy, others who believe they have ulcers directly attributable to the closer.

Since 2005 - when the Nationals arrived in Washington - only one NL closer, San Diego's Trevor Hoffman, has more than Cordero's 113 saves. In that same span, no NL closer has more than Cordero's 20 blown saves (though setup man Scott Linebrink, formerly of San Diego and Milwaukee, had 21). Cordero's ERA (1.82, 3.19, 3.36) and walks (17, 22, 29) have both gone up each of the past three seasons, though he has pitched about the same number of innings. His homers went down from 13 in 2006 to eight last year.

The Nationals have three other players eligible for arbitration - infielder Felipe Lopez and right-handers Jon Rauch and Tim Redding. And I'll get you more Chad later.

By Barry Svrluga  |  January 11, 2008; 2:22 PM ET
 
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