The Red Report: Francisco Cordero

Francisco Cordero

#48 / Pitcher / Cincinnati Reds





May 11, 1975

Fast Facts:

  • Francisco Javier Cordero was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a veritable hotbed of baseball talent.  Other players from Santo Domingo include Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Moises Alou, Adrian Beltre, Melky Cabrera, former Red D'Angelo Jimenez, and current Red ace Edinson Volquez.
  • Cordero attended Colegio Luz Arroyo Hondo High School, foreshadowing a future boat-dwelling teammate.
  • He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Tigers in 1994.  His best season in the minors came in 1997 for the Class A West Michigan Whitecaps, where he went 6-1 with 35 saves in 50 games.  He posted a 0.99 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and a 67/15 K/BB.
  • After that season, Cordero was the #41 prospect in baseball and the #3 prospect in the Tigers system.  He came up for a cup of coffee in 1999, making his debut on Aug. 2 against the White Sox.  He pitched a scoreless 9th in the loss, giving up a single to Frank Thomas but striking out Magglio Ordonez.
  • Following 1999, Cordero was part of the ill-fated trade that brought Juan Gonzalez to the Tigers in an effort to christen the new Comerica Park with a bang.  Cordero went to the Texas Rangers along with Frank Catalanatto, Bill Haselman, Gabe Kapler, Justin Thompson, and Alan Webb.
  • In 2001, Cordero missed 88 games with a stress fracture in his lower back.  He recovered well and in 2002 began to demonstrate his quality as a reliever.  In 39 games, he recorded 10 saves with a 1.79 ERA and a 1.015 WHIP, good for an ERA+ of 267.
  • Cordero was named to his first All-Star game in 2004 and notched a career high 49 saves.  He did blow a save against the Reds that season when Adam Dunn doubled and Jason LaRue plated him on a single for the tying run.
  • Cordero had a rocky start in 2006, blowing five saves in April before he was demoted to a set-up role.  He still managed to blow four more saves before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Kevin Mench and current Red Laynce Nix for Carlos Lee.  Cordero's first action in the NL came against the Cincinnati Reds.
  • In 2007, Cordero converted his first 22 saves and was named to his second All-Star Game.  He ended up saving 44 games, becoming the 8th pitcher to record 40 saves in both leagues.
  • He opted out of his contract at the end of 2007, which proved to be a smart move.  The Reds, desperately needing bullpen help, signed Cordero to the largest contract ever for a relief pitcher, 4 years and $46 million.  Although it is considered one of the worst contracts in baseball by some, Cordero helped turn Cincinnati's bullpen, one of the worst in the majors in 2007, into one of the league's best in 2008.
  • Coco appeared in 72 games for the Reds, notching 34 saves.  He struck out the side in four of his appearances, including this classic win in the Battle of Ohio.
  • Has 211 career saves, good for 35th all time.
  • Highest paid Reds player in 2009.
  • Digs Pantera.

Organizational History:

Drafted/Signed: Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Tigers in 1994.
Signed by Scout: Ramon Pena
Traded: To the Texas Rangers with Alan Webb, Frank Catalanatto, Bill Haselman, Gabe Kapler and Justin Thompson for Juan Gonzalez, Gregg Zaun, and Danny Patterson on Nov. 2, 1999.
Traded: To the Milwaukee Brewers with Julian Cordero, Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix for Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz on Jul. 28, 2006.
Signed as Free Agent: With the Cincinnati Reds on Nov. 28, 2007.
GM When Acquired By Reds: Wayne Krivsky

Contract Status:

MLB Service Time (as of Opening Day 2009): 9.046 years
Current Contract Status: In second year of a four year contract.  Will make $12 million in 2009.  Full no-trade clause this year, and a limited no-trade clause in 2010-11.  Will make $12 million in 2010, $12 million in 2011, and club holds an option for $12 million in 2012 ($1 million buyout).

Career Stats:


Francisco Cordero
185 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000


Francisco Cordero
31-31 542 0 0 0 211 576.3 515 234 211 42 269 606 3.29 1.360


Pitch Repertoire:

Information courtesy of Josh Kalk's player cards at

Cordero throws a fastball in the mid-90's with a good bit of movement, but also mixes in an 88 mph slider and an occasional changeup that he will use almost exclusively against lefties.  Coco will use the fastball as a set-up pitch, often throwing it in the first pitch of an at-bat.  He will also throw it if he falls behind in the count to re-establish the matchup.  However, if he smells blood, he will throw his slider which is particularly effective against right-handed batters.  He favors his slider on 0-2 counts and 2-1 counts.

Cordero doesn't have one dominating pitch like a prototypical closer.  He is not a dominating fireballer like Jonathon Papelbon, doesn't have the cutter of a Mariano Rivera or slider of a Brad Lidge, but instead relies on a variety of pitches and has proven that he can be a very good closer.  He's made two All-Star teams and is particularly effective if he's not overworked.  In 2008, Cordero only had three multi-inning appearances, and only entered a game with runners on base 7 times.  He is a ninth inning pitcher rather than a fireman.  Dusty Baker did have a tendency to use Cordero in long stretches of games.  Three of Cordero's blown saves in 2008 came when he had pitched the previous two days.  Cordero pitched in 15 games in July (the most appearances in any month) and put up a 5.68 ERA.  He finished strong, earning 8 saves in September (most of any month) with a 1.64 ERA.

The knock on Cordero is that he will make bad pitch selections in high pressure situations.  His relatively high walk rate helps bear that out.

2009 Projections


4-3 64.0 5 28 69 3.38 1.28
79 3.48 1.31
4-4-25 67.0 6 29 69 3.76 1.36
Bill James
4-3-35 68.0 5 29 77 3.57 1.31

RR Projected Wins Above Replacement:  0.87


This hot zone graph is modified for pitchers.  The notes are at the bottom, but the easy way to read it is that darker areas are areas that the pitcher pitches too most often.  And the cooler the color is, the better the hit type (from the pitcher's perspective).  So, blue is best because those are areas of low contact.  Green is next best because those are batted ball types that tend to be good for the pitcher (ground balls, pop flies).  Red is the worst because those types of hits tend to hurt the pitcher the most.  Slugging percentage is still listed as well to give you a better idea of the overall results from that zone.

All Pitches | vs. RHB | vs. LHB
RHB: Fastball | Slider
LHB: Fastball | Slider | Change Up

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Red Reporter

You must be a member of Red Reporter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Red Reporter. You should read them.

Join Red Reporter

You must be a member of Red Reporter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Red Reporter. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.