Could Francisco Cordero fall in Angels' laps?

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
3:02
PM PT
Judging by the one-year, $8.5 million contract Ryan Madson just agreed to with the Cincinnati Reds, the market for closers is drying up quickly. It was never a good year to be a closer anyway, with a flooded market depressing prices.

But it could play into the Angels' hands, assuming they still have a little payroll flexibility, which GM Jerry Dipoto continually asserts they do not. Francisco Cordero, a three-time All-Star, is still out there unsigned and could be a perfect stop gap until the Angels feel Jordan Walden is ready for the full-time pressure of the ninth inning.

The Angels' bullpen still looks like a potential weak link, perhaps overly reliant on aging setup men and a 24-year-old closer.

Is Cordero, 36, a great pitcher? He probably never was, but he's coming off a pretty strong season, in which he saved 37 of his 43 chances with a 1.019 WHIP and 2.45 ERA for the Reds. According to fangraphs.com, his fastball averaged 93 mph. His control is so much better than Walden's (2.8 walks per nine innings as opposed to 3.9), he'd give Angels fans a lot less to worry about on an average night.

It might be the final piece of what they hope is a championship-caliber puzzle.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Howie Kendrick
BA HR RBI R
.293 7 72 85
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Trout 35
RBIM. Trout 109
RM. Trout 112
OPSM. Trout .947
WJ. Weaver 18
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOG. Richards 164