Francisco Cordero Off the Market

Wow … it’s “Black Friday” yet signings seemingly coming out of the blue.

First there was Torii Hunter signing with the Angels in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning. That was a complete surprise to just about everyone. Hours before Hunter’s contract fell out of the sky, Scott Linebrink signed a 4-year deal with the White Sox. The fact Linebrink signed with the ChiSox wasn’t nearly as shocking as the Hunter deal, but the four years was not predicted.

Now, we hear that closer Francisco Cordero has signed a 4-year, $46M contract with the Cincinnati Reds. Where the heck did that come from? Yes we all knew the Reds have needed a closer — seemingly since John Franco was shipped to Queens — but they also have more glaring holes around the diamond (and on the mound).

All three deals look to me to be way over market value. Torii Hunter received an Ichiro-type of contract, which doesn’t seem to compute — although, Ichiro never went on the open market. Still, $18M for Hunter is Beltran money, Jeter money … is Hunter worth that much?

Similarly, four years and almost twenty million for a setup man coming off a down season — and moving from the NL to the AL — seems irresponsible.

And although we all knew that Cordero was the best reliever on the market (after Mo, whose signing with the Yanks was a foregone conclusion), the fact he’s getting close to Billy Wagner money is insanity. If the Cisco Kid was still in his twenties, then OK. But Cordero is going to be 33 years old a month into the 2008 season, and only three of his nine MLB seasons could be considered dominant. But this is what happens when supply cannot meet demand — borderline talent gets top-tier dollars.

Even though we shouldn’t care about the Wilpons’ money, I’m kind of glad the Mets didn’t outbid the White Sox and the Reds for these relievers — it would have been too much money for too many years for two guys who in my mind are on the way down. They may have been helpful in ’08, but could have quickly turned into a pair of albatrosses — look at how quickly Guillermo Mota and Scott Schoeneweis went from coveted to untradeable.

On a sadder note, the market lost another reliever — but because of death. Lefty Joe Kennedy passed away, early Friday morning, reportedly from either a heart attack or a brain aneurysm. Let’s not comment on this until the facts come out, other than to say rest in peace. A startling, terrible shame to see a 28-year-old athlete die so suddenly, and seemingly without any warning.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. julie November 24, 2007 at 5:23 am
    There is now way we are going to score Santana. What are we going to do for pitching?
  2. julie November 24, 2007 at 5:27 am
    Please excuse my 5am, no glasses spelling. 😉
  3. sincekindergarten November 24, 2007 at 7:30 am
  4. isuzudude November 24, 2007 at 8:51 am
    With the way Omar works wonders, I’m not doubting a Santana deal until I see him traded to another team. The Mets could easily match Johan’s demands of a $120-mil+ contract, so I think the biggest hurdle is getting Minnesota to bite on a package centering around Gomez/Pelfrey/Humber.

    Since El Duque seems to be the odd man out of the rotation in 2008 and I’m not down with having him work out of the pen, I’m still in favor of trading him for some minor leaguers. Those additions could cover the loss of guys we could potentially trade for starting pitching, like the 3 mentioned above, or who ever else isn’t named Mulvey or Martinez in our system. My intrigue remains with guys like Javier Vazquez, Jeremy Bonderman, Eric Bedard, Matt Cain, and of course Johan. Start at the top of the pecking order and work your way down and see who’s willing to negotiate. I’m not saying a deal is likely to get done, but if I were Omar those would be the top names on my list.

    My top FA reliever is still available, as well, in David Riske. The Linebrink deal scares me because Riske could ask for a similar deal. Hopefully Riske’s relative obscurity will make his asking price a bit less costly.

  5. joe November 24, 2007 at 11:02 am
    Also keep in mind that Omar can assemble trade chips for Johan elsewhere — i.e., pull off a three-team deal if necessary, or trade for a player and then flip him.