Less than a week after their arch rivals won another World Series, the Reds sprang into action Monday. Well, OK, sprang may be a bit of an over reaching verb. Let’s say they did some bookkeeping. Picking up Brandon Phillips $12 million option as a foregone conclusion. Reds General Manager, Walt Jocketty said the club would more than a month ago. Declining Francisco Cordero’s $12 million dollar option for next season was a foregone conclusion as well. Last week, there was simmering talk about the Reds actually picking it up. No way in their cash strapped world they were going to tie up $24 million of a $80-85 million dollar total payroll on those two players. Cordero may be moving on. But he shouldn’t be.
And Phillips shouldn’t play 2012 as a ‘lame duck’ second baseman. While continuing to negotiate a long term deal with Phillips continues, pursuing a shorter term deal with Cordero should be a priority. If there is a closer in waiting (maybe Brad Boxberger in Lousville?) he hasn’t shown his face around Great American Ball Park. Cordero can be infuriating at times. His abysmal performance in the week leading up to this year’s All Star break had as much to do with the Reds falling out of contention (although with the Cardinals ten and a half games out of the Wild Card race on August 24, who can logically say that) and with the team’s reluctance to pursue trade deadline deals, than just about anything that happened in this under-achieving year of 2011. But statistically, Cordero holds up to the better closers in baseball. Is he worth $12 million dollars next season? Absolutely not.
But there should be middle ground. Cordero won’t find a market for his services in that price range, and the Reds have to know their limitations when it comes to closing out ballgames.
Both sides should be taking care of business, starting now.