Cordero signs one-year deal with Blue Jays
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com | 01/24/12 6:26 PM EST
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays continued to revamp their bullpen on Tuesday afternoon by agreeing to terms with free-agent reliever Francisco Cordero.
The move is pending a physical and has been confirmed by an MLB.com source close to the negotiations. A report on Foxsports.com indicated the deal was for one year at $4.5 million.
Cordero's signing puts an end to the club's overhaul of its bullpen following the recent acquisitions of Sergio Santos, Jason Frasor and Darren Oliver. Toronto currently doesn't have an open spot on its 40-man roster and will need to make a corresponding roster move before the signing becomes official.
The 36-year-old Cordero posted a 2.45 ERA with 37 saves in 43 opportunities in Cincinnati last year. He has 327 saves in 397 career opportunities and will provide another veteran presence at the back end of Toronto's bullpen.
It's not yet known exactly what role Cordero will have with the Blue Jays, but he likely will serve as a setup man to recently acquired right-hander Sergio Santos.
Toronto acquired Santos to become the closer in a December trade with the White Sox for pitching prospect Nestor Molina. The hard-throwing righty recorded 30 saves while striking out 92 in 63 1/3 innings, and he should create a formidable one-two punch with Cordero.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos addressed the media on Tuesday morning but didn't tip his hand regarding the imminent move. When asked about potential upgrades to the team before Spring Training, Anthopoulos didn't seem overly optimistic.
"Right now, I wouldn't expect us to do anything else," Anthopoulos said. "Maybe adding a reliever is probably the only thing I think we have a chance at doing."
Cordero became a free agent following a season in which he went 5-3 with 42 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings. He earned $12,125,000 last year with Cincinnati and reportedly turned down a two-year, $12 million offer from the club earlier this offseason in hopes of finding a better deal.
The native of the Dominican Republic has played for Detroit, Texas, Milwaukee and Cincinnati during a career that has spanned 13 seasons. Cordero has a career mark of 44-45 with a 3.17 ERA.
Toronto's bullpen arguably was the club's biggest weakness in 2011, but it should now be considered its strength. The Blue Jays finished tied for the American League lead with 25 blown saves last year, but 2011 closers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch have since departed as free agents.
Cordero will join Santos, Frasor, Oliver and Casey Janssen to form the core of Toronto's relief staff. The final two spots likely will be filled by dependable right-handers Carlos Villanueva and Jesse Litsch or lefty Luis Perez, who is currently out of options on his contract.