“The Chief” could be the answer to the Phillies bullpen problems.
Chad Patrick Cordero is 25 years old, who last season had a respectable .319 ERA and struck out 69 over 73.1 innings for the Washington Nationals. Even more impressive, at least to the Phillies, he recorded 29 saves last season and is considered one of the best young closers in the game today. Moreover, he’s not eligible for free agency until 2009.
With Cordero in the bullpen ready to pitch the seventh or eighth inning and close occasionally, he’d be ready to step in to fill the void left by Gordon upon injury or retirement.
But it won’t be easy to get Cordero. The Nationals want high end players in return, and can wait out any and all trade proposals, or not trade Cordero at all. With that in mind, who would the Phillies be willing to trade to get Cordero?
Ryan Howard? Chase Utley?
Let’s move on. Would the Nationals take Bret Myers for Cordero? Would the Phillies trade Myers? How about Cole Hammels?
The Nationals would most likely jump at either Myers or Hammels for Cordero, but I don’t think the Phillies would pull the trigger on either pitcher.
So let’s keep going.
How about Jimmy Rollins? Did you say, “Ouch?” Remember, to get something good, you have to give up something good. Perhaps if the Nationals added shortstop Felipe Lopez to the trade, and the Phillies added Chris Coste or Gred Dobbs (or both), it might work.
Lopez is not Jimmy Rollins, but at 27, he can hit a little and has some pop in his bat, with 11 home runs last season. His defense, on the other hand, is average. But then Rollins can’t pitch the seventh or eighth innings and be the Phillies closer for the future, either.
So this deal is hanging out there: Cordero and Lopez for Rollins and Coste or Dobbs (or both). Would you do it?
There doesn’t seem to be another pitcher on the Phillies who the Nationals would trade for Cordero. So let’s look at other position players. There's Pat Burrell, and perhaps Burrell and one or two other players might work. But who would those ‘one or two other players' be?’
How about Burrell and Rowand for Cordero? Doubtful the Nationals would go for that. But if they did, the Phillies would still have a chip to trade in Lieber for an outfielder, which might be easier to trade for than a relief pitcher. How about Burrell and Victorino? Interesting.
My gut tells me the Nationals wouldn’t give up Cordero for
Burrell and Rowand, especially since Rowand can walk at the end of the season
and Burrell has been struggling. The Nationals may not think Victorino is high
enough to qualify as a high end player. Yet.
So we are back to JRol.
The Chief is considered one of the top ten relief pitchers in the game and he’s young. He’s inexpensive, too. Rollins may be one of the best lead off hitters in the baseball, and paired up with Utley, he provides outstanding defense. He'd give the Nationals solid offensive and defensive leadership. No question Jimmy Rollins is a blue-chip player.
But so is"The Chief."
Victorino could fill the gap at the top of the order. The Phillies could then trade a pitcher for another bat and hope that C.J. Henry--the young shortstop they received in the Abreu trade, who the Yankees selected number one, 17th overall, in 2005, matures quickly. Meanwhile, Cordero solidifies a weak and unpredictable bullpen, and gives the Phillies a flame-throwing closer for the future.
Chad Patrick Cordero and Felip Lopez for JRol and Coste and Dobbs.
Would you do it?