Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com is reporting that the New York Mets are close to signing former Nationals closer Chad Cordero to a minor league deal.
Cordero earned his free-agency after previously declining a demotion from the Mariners. The 28-year-old former all-star had allowed 10 hits in 9.2 innings of work for Seattle this season. Cordero is returning to the mound this year after missing most of 2008, and the entirety of 2009 due to shoulder surgery and a strained oblique muscle.
Cordero became a household name in Washington from 2005-2007 as the Nationals shut-down closer, earning 113 saves in that span. The pudgy stopper with the flat brim fired up crowds in RFK with his intense demeanor and electrifying change up. Over the years however the often-used Cordero began to lose velocity on his already weak fastball, making his once dominant changeup no longer effective.
Despite his importance in the clubhouse and his relationship with the fans, the Nationals and Cordero parted ways in October of 2008 when he refused an assignment from Washington to Triple A. The closer spent almost the entirety of 2009 on the free-agent list after auditioning for many teams but falling just short. Cordero had only just now made it back to the majors during his short stint with Seattle.
The good news for Cordero is that the velocity on his fastball seems to be close to back. In his short stint this season the righty threw 80% fastballs with an average speed of 87.9 MPH, 14 % sliders with an average of 78.2 MPH, and 5% of changeups with an average of 82.3 MPH. These numbers are close to Cordero’s 2007 outputs of 76.2% fastballs (89.6 MPH), 19.8% sliders (80 MPH) and 3.9 % changeups (83.6 MPH).
Regardless of whether or not “The Chief” resurrects his career with NL East foe the New York Mets, true Nationals fans will remember Cordero for the energy and life he brought to the club back in the franchise’s infancy. Thanks Chad, and best of luck to you in New York.