The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox have informed relief pitcher Francisco Cordero that they are releasing him, according to reports out of Fort Myers on Saturday.
Signed to a minor league deal, the Dominican-born reliever was hoping to make the team and put up enough of a showing to do so, with eight scoreless innings in eight appearances. But, given his age and recent injuries - he missed all of last season following shoulder surgery -- as well as the depth of a unit that was considered integral in the team's run to last year's championship, there just wasn't a place for the nearly 39-year-old on the major league squad.
Following three All-Star appearances for three separate teams -- the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds -- the pitcher tried to catch on with the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros in 2012, but neither place panned out. With just one day before the season starts, it's obviously unlikely that he will be able to find a new home before the season starts, and his horrific stats in that last full season will make it even harder to find a suitor anywhere.
After running an ERA below 5.00 since 2000 -- in fact, every single year between then and 2011 had him under 4.00 for the entire season -- Cordero's numbers exploded. A 5.77 ERA in 41 appearances in Toronto led to him being traded to Houston, where the wheels came completely off the wagon. He spiraled out of Minute Maid Park with 19.80 ERA in six appearances before being cut.
However, with the performance he gave this spring in limited exposure, it appears far too early to tell what was behind his precipitous decline. Cordero has at least raised the possibility that his poor play came from a lack of motivation on one of the worst teams in recent memory, followed by an incredibly ill-timed injury.
True, that 2012 campaign may also have marked a point of no return for him following a significant decline in his fastball velocity since 2007. Still, considering his very solid 2011 numbers -- a 2.45 ERA in 69.2 as the Reds closer -- it's very plausible that some team will get a rejuvenated Cordero giving stability to the back end of a bullpen. It just won't be the Red Sox.