Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 1/12/12
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With Ryan Madson in Cincinnati, Francisco Cordero remains the only healthy, available closer in a market that opened the winter with 13 savers looking for 15 jobs.

The 36-year-old Cordero manned the ninth for the Reds from 2008-11, saving 38 games per season with a 2.96 ERA. His WHIP with Cincy was a mediocre 1.30 and his ratio of strikeouts-per-nine (7.6) to walks-per-nine (4.1) wasn’t close to the level of a Madson or Jonathan Papelbon, but Cordero is a solid short-term reliever who could get a look from the Phillies, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.

The Phils are looking around for relief help to supplement the setup trio of Antonio Bastardo (late-season struggles), Mike Stutes (youth) and Jose Contreras (health issues). They were unable to lure Madson back on a one-year deal and it appears that Kerry Wood, who the Phils were also eyeing, is headed back to the Cubs.

On a one-year deal, Cordero would add stability to the eighth inning, put less pressure on Bastardo and Stutes and allow Contreras to ease his way back. The last full season in which Cordero wasn’t a primary closer was 2003, but at 36 with so few suitors, he may have to take a setup role.

Heyman’s tweet was pure speculation and the Phils haven’t otherwise been directly linked to Cordero, but the fit is natural. One hindrance to signing Cordero would be his financial desires. The bigger problem would be the willingness of a team like the Angels or Cardinals to offer Cordero at least the hope of closing. Whereas the Phillies are locked in to Papelbon in the ninth, the Angels have a young incumbent in Jordan Walden who could struggle and give way to Cordero, and the Cardinals, too, have inexperienced options.

If you were Cordero, would you take the job where you know you won’t close, or the one that offers a chance?

Keeping that in mind, the only way the Phils can make a legitimate run at Cordero would be to offer more than other teams are offering on a one-year deal. But we’d imagine it would have to be a considerable amount more, since the opportunity of closing offers Cordero more future dollars than would setting up for the Phillies.

Earlier in the off-season, Matt Capps signed a one-year, $4.75 million deal with the Twins and Frank Francisco signed in Flushing for two years and $12 million. Cordero’s annual average salary figures to be in that vicinity, somewhere between $5.5-$6.5 million. For it to make sense for Cordero to forego the opportunity to close, the Phils might have to offer something like $8 million for one year, which, from many indications, is too much given the team’s proximity to the luxury tax threshold.

So while the idea of Cordero setting up for Papelbon makes sense, it doesn’t when you take into account what Cordero is likely seeking.

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