According to Ken Rosenthal, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed former Cincinnati Reds closer Francisco Cordero to a one year deal worth $4.5 million. He will be expected to set up for Sergio Santos.
Over the last ten years, only Mariano Rivera has collected more saves than Cordero. That’s a remarkable fact, but unfortunately for the Toronto Blue Jays, it isn’t nearly as predictive of a statistic as the annual declines in the reliever’s strikeout rate since 2006. It’s also not as predictive as a four-seam fastball whose velocity has dropped two miles per hour since 2009. And it’s certainly not as predictive as Cordero’s demonstrated fear of throwing that fastball last year, as it went from comprising 63% of his pitches to a mere 37%.
A quick glimpse at his low WHIP and ERA from last season might sway a surface looker into believing that I’m being unfairly harsh in my judgement of Cordero, but in explanation, I would point them toward his insanely low .214 BABIP as evidence of those numbers having a lot more to do with luck than anything that Cordero was throwing.
Furthermore, over the last two seasons, Cordero has pitched significantly worse against left handed batters. If this trend continues, his value to the team decreases even further, and he’ll basically become Octavio Dotel with a worse fastball.
Now, it’s true that the Blue Jays somehow managed to flip Dotel as part of a package that brought back Colby Rasmus last season, but hoping for lightning to strike twice in this case seems foolish.
In the grand scheme of things, $4.5 million isn’t a whole lot of money. It just seems as though Cordero is an odd place to push those funds when a reliever like Jason Frasor will most likely end up having a far better season for less money. But perhaps, the signing is most disappointing to Blue Jays fans because it likely precludes Toronto from trying to acquire Koji Uehara from the Texas Rangers.