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1/12/08 Step 1: Nationals Sign Chad Cordero. Step 2: Don't Trade Chad Cordero. Step 3: Multi-y...

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     In Washington Post Nationals' baseball writer Barry Svrluga's book, "National Pastime", Mr. Svrluga recounts the story, told by former Expos Assistant General Manager Tony Siegle, of how the Expos' scouts first, convinced GM Omar Minaya to draft Chad Cordero, and then how Mr. Siegle and Expos' scout Tony Arango traveled to the Cordero home in Chino, California and signed Chad Cordero to his first professional contract.

     Cordero, then 21, had just completed his third season at Cal State Fullerton, where the right-hander posted posted a (5-1) record with a 1.58 ERA in 40 games and 57.0 innings over which the late-breaking-fastball throwing flat-brimmed cap wearing closer saved 8 games while striking out 68 and walking only 8.

     But, as Mr. Svrluga writes in, "National Pastime", the Expos' scouts thought, "...Cordero was a nice, safe, solid choice," and, "They thought he would sign quickly. They thought he would rise to the majors quickly," and as Assistant GM Tony Siegle is quoted explaining to Cordero and his parents, the Expos:

          "...were unlike any other franchise. They were so bereft of
          talent they provided premature opportunities to those
          players who were even halfway decent."

     Barry Svrluga then describes the actual moment Chad Cordero's first contract was signed, writing:

          "The Expos offer was for a bonus of $1.35 million and an
          assurance that Chad would be invited to spring training
          with the majore league club the following year. (Cordero's
          father) Edward Cordero looked at his son.

          "'Chad, what do you think?'

          "'Dad,' Chad said, 'that's more money than I ever thought
          I was going to get.' He looked at Siegle. 'Where do I sign?'"

     Tony Siegle was telling the Cordero family the truth about the opportunity to rise through the ranks of the Expos' organization. In fact, it only took Chad Cordero 19 games and 26.1 innings with the Brevard County Manatees, the Expos' high Class-A affiliate in the Florida State League, where Cordero was (1-1) with a 2.05 ERA, 8 saves and 17 K's, before the Expos brought the right-hander up to the Stade Olympique.

     5 years, a move to DC, a (20-14) record, a 2.79 ERA, 128 saves, 316.1 innings, and 287 K's later, Chad Cordero, the Washington Nationals' Flat-Brimmed Closer signed yet another contract with the franchise yesterday, his second straight one-year deal with the Nationals, with his salary increasing to $6.7 million per season from last year's $4.15 million dollar deal according to Barry Svrluga's article tonight on washingtonpost.com entitled, "Cordero Avoids Arbitration, Agrees to a One-Year Deal."

     Chad Cordero had 6 more saves in '07 than he did '06, 2.2 more innings pitched, he gave up 16 more hits, 5 less home runs, walked 7 more, K'd 7 less, saw his WHIP rise from 1.10 to 1.39, appeared in 8 more games, and saw his record and ERA go from (7-4) and 3.14 in '06 to (3-3) and 3.36 in '07. What would an arbitrator have made of those numbers?

     The Nationals decided Cordero was due a $2.55 million dollar raise. Though Cordero's name has surfaced again and again in trade rumors, mlb.com's Bill Ladson quoted Washington GM Jim Bowden in a 1/5/08 article entitled, "Q&A with Jim Bowden the other day", in which Mr. Bowden spoke of Cordero, stating:

           "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."

     Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch, Saul Rivera, Luis Ayala, Jesus Colome, Chris Schroder, Ryan Wagner, and lefties Ray King and Mike Bacsik? Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty good bullpen, and Cordero is ready to lead the relief corps, as he told mlb.com's Bill Ladson in Mr. Ladson's article, "Cordero agrees to terms with Nats,":

          "I told my agent that I wanted to get everything done. I
          didn't want to go through all that process. I want to go
          into Spring Training ready, and I didn't want to worry
          about that...My body feels great, and my arm feels
          good...I'm ready. I want to have another year like I had in
          2005."

     In '05 Cordero was (2-4) with a 1.82 ERA in 74 games and 74.1 innings on the hill, with 47 saves, 61 K's and a 0.97 WHIP for the season. I'm sure that if the Flat-Brimmed Closer can have another season like the '05 campaign, the Nationals will consider it worth every penny of today's $6.7 million dollar deal.

*Chad Cordero Contract Links*

amazon.com link to Washington Post baseball writer Barry Svrluga's book entitled, "National Pastime: Sports, Politics, and the Return of Baseball to Washington, D.C.":

http://www.amazon.com/National-Pastime-Politics-Baseball-Washington/dp/0385517858/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie

Chad Cordero's career stats at thebaseballcube.com:

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/C/chad-cordero.shtml

washingtonpost.com writer Barry Svrluga's article, "Cordero Avoids Arbitration, Agrees to a One-Year Deal":

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/11/AR2008011103369.html

mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Q&A with Jim Bowden" at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080105&content_id=2340005&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Cordero agrees to terms with Nats" at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080111&content_id=2343828&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was