If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest closer rumors, you should be. There are a couple elite closers still in free agency. One in particular is a man with three All Star appearances and 327 career saves. That’s 12th in the history of the game. His name is Francisco ‘CoCo’ Cordero. Though he probably won’t come close to Mariano Rivera’s 603 career saves, CoCo will climb a few spots before he hangs up his glove, heck! he is only 14 saves behind Rollie Fingers. CoCo is second in all time saves amongst active players of the respective list.
Though CoCo has had some rough days with the Rangers and the Brewers, he excelled in Cincinnati. The Reds signed CoCo in 2008 to a four-year, 46 million dollar deal. Cordero filled the Reds expectation as their closer, and Cordero found himself, finally, at home.
What do I love about CoCo? His hard fastball! He might not throw K’s like Brian Wilson, but he throws such a heavy seamer that hitters tend to hit into double plays… Cordero always kept me on the edge of my seat and was and hopefully continue to be fun to watch in real life.
There are many reasons for Cordero to return to his beloved Cincinnati Reds, some off and on-field factors are coming into play:
1.) The 4-year, 46 million deal is the largest deal ever signed by a relief pitcher.
2.) CoCo renovated Pioneer Park in Kentucky with over 75K in improvements, now dedicated to CoCo and renamed Francisco Cordero Field.
3.) CoCo has said that he wants to spend his career in Cincinnati (yet, many players make this claim…right Pujols?).
4.) CoCo has put up some of his finer numbers in Cincinnati, with exception to his 2004 season with Texas (49 saves), which secured his All Star selection and in the race for MVP.
5.) The Reds brought CoCo to his first playoff appearance in 2010.
6.) CoCo earned his 300th save in Cincinnati, against his former team the Brewers. (see below for details of the game - EPIC!).
7.) CoCo has more saves than any player from the Dominican Republic, yes, including Jose Mesa.
8.) At the end of the 2011 season, CoCo gave his game used hat to a kid in the stands, inside the hat and in espanol, he had written, “God is love, peace, life, happiness. God, in your hands we are. God guide me always, our Father bless all my family.” Followed by the initials of his family members.
Another fun fact, Cordero has been in the top 10 for saves since 2007 with the NL, before that, the top ten eluded him only three times in the American League.
I find it hard to think that a man with such beliefs, pride in family and friends, would go to another team just for the sake of money. I can understand how contract years are of concern, but for what price? I say Cordero resigns with Cincinnati one way or another by Monday 1/9/12.