Reds better with Cordero ... for now 

November, 26, 2007
Given how awful Cincinnati's bullpen was in 2007, going after relief pitching in the free-agent market was a sensible strategy; the Reds handed 270 innings over to 10 pitchers, none of whom could muster an ERA below 5.00 and six of whom posted ERAs over 6.00. And signing Francisco Cordero -- the best relief pitcher on the market -- also makes sense. Behind Cordero, there was a significant dropoff in quality among available relievers. But the size of Cordero's contract and especially its length doesn't make any sense at all.

Cordero is easily the best reliever on the Reds' staff now, and he pushes David Weathers back into a setup role. Jon Coutlangus and Jared Burton can be 11th/12th men on a staff, and Todd Coffey's taterrific 2007 season was really out of character for him (12 homers allowed in 51 innings, after he allowed 12 homers total in 136 innings before '07), so there's some hope he can contribute in the middle.

The Reds now don't have a good bullpen, but it's less dependent on guys like Kirk Saarloos and Mike Stanton and Gary Majewski to soak up innings, particularly if the Reds get a little creative and break 21-year-old right-hander Johnny Cueto in with some relief work. Adding Cordero should be worth about two wins to the Reds in 2008, maybe three if he ends up working in a lot of leveraged situations.