MLB.com's Bill Ladson's 2/6/08 article, "Around the Horn: Bullpen", at the Nationals' official site, examined Washington's core closing corps consisting of Saul Rivera, Luis Ayala, Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero, who led a bullpen that, "...posted a solid 3.81 ERA and saved 46 games while leading the National League in innings," Mr. Ladson writes, and he closes his article with a quote from the Nationals' GM Jim Bowden, whose high praise for Cordero could provide a glimpse of what GM's leaguewide have heard during Cordero-related trade talks for the last two seasons...
"Obviously, with our bullpen, we feel it's one of the better ones in the National League...Chad Cordero has more saves at his age than any other pitcher except for Francisco Rodriguez, and that's an amazing accomplishment."
Athlon Sports' 2008 Baseball Annual preview recognized that, "The Nationals kept their best asset intact during the offseason," when they flirted with the idea and reportedly talked to other teams, but once again chose to keep Chad Cordero and set-up man Jon Rauch, rather than accept what have been reported as inadequate trade offers for either one of the Nationals' intimidating closing tandem. The Athlon Sports' writers point out:
"Cordero lost some steam on his fastball near the end of '07 and he led the majors with nine blown saves. However, he is still one of the most effective closers in the game when his slider and fastball are working."
Chad Cordero's nine blown saves left him with a (3-3) record and 37 of the Nationals' 46 saves as a team last season, and his 3.36 ERA was the lowest in the DC bullpen, while his 76 appearances ranked him third amongst Washington's relievers. After the completion of his fifth MLB season, Cordero, 25, (26 in March) has compiled a (20-14) record with a 2.79 career ERA, and 287 K's in 233.1 innings on the hill for the Expos/Nationals according to Cordero's stat page at thebaseballcube.com.
The Sporting News' 2008 Baseball Preview talks about Chad Cordero in its, "View From the Other Dugout", feature, which quotes an opposing scout, saying:
"Chad Cordero is a solid closer. He's a gutsy guy who mixes his pitches, has some sink and hit 92 mph with his fastball. That's above average."
Cordero's ERA jumped from 3.00 before the All-Star break to 3.82 in the second "half" of the '07 season, but 22 of Cordero's 37 saves came in his 34 post All-Star appearances, as opposed to the 15 saves Cordero collected in 42 games from April through June. The Flat-Brimmed Closer allowed an indentical 14 runs per half-season, but only 2 of the 8 home runs Cordero offered up came after July, as Cordero went (2-1) in 33.0 IP, with 12 walks and 31 K's.
Washington Post baseball writer Barry Svrluga wrote about Chad Cordero in his 1/12/08 article entitled, "Cordero Avoids Arbitration, Agrees to a One-Year Deal", which reported that the Nationals and their Flat-Brimmed Closer had agreed on a 1-year, $6.1 million dollar deal, and quoted Cordero, who stated:
"I've lost some weight, and that's really what I need to do...I need to lose some more. I want to come into spring training and be a lot slimmer and try to be able to stay in shape throughout the whole year."
When Cordero arrived in Viera, Florida to start the Nationals '08 Spring Training last week, Florida Today sports writer Jim Cawley interviewed the Flat-Brimmed Closer for an article entitled, "Closer seeks strong finishes", at floridatoday.com in which Cordero is said to have shed 10 pounds this offseason. Cordero tells Mr. Cawley:
"I needed to do that...I just changed my whole diet; changed all my eating habits, started running more. It's something I just felt like I had to do.
...And Cordero's optimistic about the Nationals' chances this season, telling Mr. Cawley:
We pretty much have the same guys back. We've done really well, we work well together," Cordero said. "I think if everybody can stay healthy, and pitch the way we did last year, we'll be good."
How good does Cordero think the Nationals can be? According to Washington Times baseball scribe Thom Loverro's article, "Q & A with pitcher Chad Cordero" the Flat-Brimmed Closer says, " I think we can finish over .500 and probably contend."