Relievers cashing in: Cordero -$46M and Linebrink – $19M!

November 23, 2007 at 9:56 pm 8 comments

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The Cincinnati Reds have reached an agreement (pending a physical) with closer Francisco Cordero to be there closer for the next 4 years. It will cost them $46M with an option for a 5th year! The Chicago White Sox gave middle reliever Scott Linebrink $19M to be a reliever for the next 4 years. I’m sorry but this is a joke!

Cordero is good but not $46M good. Linebrink, well… Let’s just say Petco Park worked wonders for his numbers and he’s heading to a tougher league and to a hitter’s ballpark.

Cordero flashes a mid-high 90s fastball with a plus slider/cutter. He is a two pitch pitcher and when one isn’t working he gets lit up.

Linebrink works off a 90-93 MPH fastball and doesn’t carry any other plus pitch, just a few average pitches. A move to a smaller, more hitter friendly park isn’t his best option. He is a flyball pitcher (0.89 GB/FB ratio).

What I’m trying to say is that it is ludacris to be spending this type of money on guys who give you roughly 60-75 innings a year. The save stat is so overrated it’s not even funny. And the best part about these two signings is that not one of these two teams are favorites to be in the top of their divisions at the end of 2008.

Good job GMs, water down the market for relievers even more.

Here are the articles from which I gathered my sources:

The Cincinnati Reds have reached preliminary agreement on a four-year, $46 million contract with closer Francisco Cordero, a baseball source confirmed Friday to

The deal, which includes a club option for a fifth year, is subject to Cordero passing a physical exam. The agreement was first reported by

Cordero, 32, has 177 career saves in nine seasons with Detroit, Texas and Milwaukee. He ranked second in the National League with 44 saves last season in Milwaukee and made the National League All-Star team.

The Brewers and Houston Astros were also pursuing Cordero before he signed with Cincinnati.

Cordero, speaking Friday on a sports radio program in the Dominican Republic, hinted that he had received a lucrative offer from Cincinnati.

“I would have liked to stay in Milwaukee, but it’s not up to me,” he said. “We will see what happens with the management and the owners of the Brewers, because we are willing to hear their offers.”

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he offered Cordero a four-year, $42 million deal with an option for a fifth year.

“I thought we had a chance to keep ‘Coco,’ ” Melvin said. “Our offer was competitive. As important as he was to us, we just felt (the bidding) was getting to be too much.”

Cordero is the third prominent reliever to sign as a free agent this offseason. Mariano Rivera will return to the New York Yankees on a three-year, $45 million contract, and Scott Linebrink has agreed to a four-year, $19 million deal with the Chicago White Sox pending a physical exam.

In addition, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired closer Brad Lidge from the Houston Astros as part of a five-player trade.

Cordero helps upgrade a Cincinnati bullpen that went 23-31 last season and posted a National League-worst 5.10 ERA. David Weathers led the Reds with 33 saves, but has been a setup man for most of his major league career.

Information from The Associated Press and Jerry Crasnick, who covers Major League Baseball for ESPN Insider were used in this report.

The Chicago White Sox are wheeling and dealing.

Just days after acquiring shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Los Angeles Angels, the White Sox have agreed to terms with free agent reliever Scott Linebrink, according to Chicago-area media reports. The four-year deal worth $19 million is dependent on the 31-year-old passing a physical.

Chicago would be Linebrink’s fifth team in his eight-year MLB career, but just his first in the American League.

In 2007, Linebrink racked up a 3.71 ERA in 71 total games with the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers. He owns a 30-16 career record with a 3.21 ERA and 378 strikeouts in 442 2/3 innings.

Linebrink would be a welcome addition to the White Sox bullpen. Chicago relievers posted a hefty 5.47 ERA last season.

The White Sox made their first big offseason move Monday, sending Jon Garland to the Angels for Cabrera.

After that trade Chicago general manager Ken Williams said, “We’re not done yet. We’re still out there trying to land some big fish.”

Information from The Associated Press and contributed to this story.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aaron Boynton  |  November 23, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    I’m thinking that the problem in Cincinnati isn’t the endless number of managers….

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 23, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Man, they seem to be running a weird show over in Cincy. They won’t trade Griffey. They sign Baker to ruin young arms and let backup vets play over kids. And I’ve even heard that if teams want one of their OFers they will consider Josh Hamilton before Griffey or Dunn. That is stupid! Plus, the best hitting prospect in the game (Jay Bruce) will be ready in June and may not play.

  • 3. MikeMcGinnis  |  November 25, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    no shock whatsoever about the money spent on these pitchers guys. even if it seems insane it all goes back to my theory about how pitching and the lack of it out there will affect the market.

  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 25, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    No doubt the lack of pitching will affect the market. But I think GMs will notice the trend of long term deals with relievers (Baez, B.J. Ryan, Schoeneweis, Scott Eyre, Farnsworth, Gordon, Looper…) and they will stop this insane trend. These GMs get paid good money to make bad decisions.

  • 5. Charlie Nehl  |  November 25, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Here’s the other thing, especially about closers: They go through rough spots and teams unload them. Look at Cordero, he was having an awful run at things with the Rangers and couldn’t convert anything after several successful seasons. They traded him to the Brewers where Derrick Turnbow was having problems. Cordero comes around and pitches wonderful again. Who’s to say that he’ll continue this streak in Cincy? He could turn in to a pile of trash. There are only a few closers that I would consider giving this sort of money to: Mariano Rivera, Johnathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan and possibly Trevor Hoffman (even without the heat, he’s still getting it done). In a few years when some of the younger relievers albeit Papelbon is still very young, we might be able to add more people to this list such as J.J. Putz or Joakim Soria (if he gets out of KC). Everybody else on the active closer list is either on their downhill decline or just not lights out anymore. I knew I was sweating bullets every time Dempster was trying to close with a one run lead. I personally don’t think Cordero worth that much, but hey, I’m not a GM.

  • 6. Erik  |  November 26, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    My two cents…Cordero was by far the best closer available on the market and the Reds getting him is a clear upgrade over David Weathers and this weakens the Milwaukee Brewers as a division rival. However, Baker will pitch him too often and ruin yet another arm.

    Linebrink…I like him when he was with San Diego which is German for a Whale’s Vagina as you know…But the length of the contract is a bit too long in my opinion for a middle reliever. I think this is a lot harder to swallow than the Cordero signing in that Cordero was one of the top closers in the league last year and he pitched well… Linebrink is a middle man and they have a revolving door… and based on when he pitches I think the ceiling for that type of pitcher should be 3yrs max…

  • 7. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 27, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Cordero was the best “closer” available. But he is now the 2nd highest paid reliever and he is not the 2nd best reliever in the game. Just two yers ago he blew 11 saves and saved only 22. He could implode any given day.

    I too like Linebrink but not for almost $5M per year. I wonder if GMs even ask their scouts anything at all.

  • 8. Erik  |  November 28, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I agree Jonathan… and in Cincy you KNOW THIS MAN!!!!


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