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Cordero, Orr, Wagner Become FAs; Pena Exercises Option

Four Washington roster moves to report today:

* P CHAD CORDERO -- filed for free agency, after the Nationals outrighted him to Class AAA Syracuse

* P RYAN WAGNER -- filed for free agency, after the Nationals outrighted him to Class AAA Syracuse

* INF PETE ORR -- filed for free agency, after the Nationals outrighted him to Class AAA Syracuse

* OF WILY MO PENA -- exercised his option on a one-year $2 million deal for 2009, after the club rejected its own $5 million option

Of the four players involved here, three (Cordero, Wagner and Pena) are coming back from major shoulder surgeries. So it's almost fitting that these moves are made in bulk: Indeed, following a season consumed by injuries, the Nationals have begun the process of determining where those injured players will attempt their comebacks.

The big question here is whether Cordero's career with Washington is over. For three solid years (2005-2007), you could certainly argue that the Chief was the face of this franchise. He made the all star game in '05, the first year baseball was back in DC. He saved 47 games that year. He became Washington's first star -- and he was also paid like one. Cordero made $6.2 million in 2008, a contract that made this severing of ties much-anticipated. No team can pay a pitcher recovering from labrum surgery such a hefty sum -- and arbitration (for which Cordero would have been eligible) could have reduced that salary to nothing less than $4.9 million for 2009.

The timing of this move with Cordero works favorably for both parties. By allowing Cordero (and the others) to become a free agent now, Washington opens space on its 40-man roster, where it can now protect more prospects from the December 11 Rule 5 Draft. (Had Washington "non-tendered" Cordero, it would have happened on December 12, the MLB deadline for tendering contracts.) Plus, the timing of this move gives Cordero more time to shop around, check out his options.

Washington, it seems, will look into offering Cordero a minor league contract heavy with incentives. Cordero has said he'll be ready to pitch by spring training, but he's up against a serious challenge: Labrum surgery is about as serious as it gets for a pitcher. Just ask Wagner. He had his surgical reconstruction performed in June 2007, and he still hasn't made it back to the big leagues.

By Chico Harlan  |  October 30, 2008; 8:26 PM ET
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Hope we didn't take you away from something more important. But this stuff is important to us.

Posted by: leetee1955 | October 30, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

8:26pm - Old news by 3+ hrs to those of us who care; nice work WaPo. Are you basing the amount of coverage off of combined radio/TV numbers?
To the update point, sadly the add-on from other sources that WMP took the $2M 'gift' from the Nats' was expected [Would ANY of us walk away from $2M?].

Posted by: BinM | October 30, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

@leetee: You & I probably share a common birthyear. Maybe we should get together with Natsfan1a (and others) & commiserate on the state of the team over a pitcher or two.

Posted by: BinM | October 30, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse


I didn't suffer not having a home team from the ages of 16 to 49 to have the current squad be treated in such a shabby manner by the Post. If these were personnel moves by the Snydermen, not only would LaCanfora update his blog in a timelier manner, the news probably would be on the web page. Harlan isn't the only person capable of updating this blog as we have seen in the past. The Post can't get Lindsay Applebaum or someone to baby sit NJ when Harlan isn't available?

Posted by: leetee1955 | October 30, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be surprised if all 4 guys end up under Washington control next season. Orr is totally replacable and nobody would have picked him up had we waived him prior to now.

Wagner is a bit surprising, but he just hasn't shown us anything since coming back. Cordero will sign exactly what we will offer him: a minor league deal guaranteeing no more than a MLB min salary and heavy incentives. Hopefully he goes with us, but if a contender offers him the same no surprise when he goes and becomes someone's setup/8th inning guy for a playoff team.

Pena; maybe we can look at him at 1B next year if healthy and continue with our first choice OF of Dukes, Millege and Kearns?

Posted by: tboss | October 31, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, people seem to be in a bad mood. It's the off-season, folks. Give Chico a break.

Would be nice if The Chief can make his way back, and with the Nats. We missed the flat-brimmed cap in 2008.

Posted by: AshburnVA | October 31, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Certainly agree the Post should give better coverage of the Nats, would have been a full posted story for the Skins. But, that's not Chico's fault.

Outfield looks set wtih Dukes, Milledge and Kearns and have to bring back Harris as the super utility guy. That puts WMP at 1b or AAA (if he has options, can't remember).

Sure hope the Meat can make it back!

Predicting $5m for Zimm in arb.

Posted by: Avar | October 31, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

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