From "Source: Reds, closer Cordero have preliminary agreement" by Jerry Crasnick at ESPN.com:
The Cincinnati Reds have reached preliminary agreement on a four-year, $46 million contract with closer Francisco Cordero, a baseball source confirmed to ESPN.com....
Cordero is the third prominent reliever to sign as a free agent this offseason. Mariano Rivera will return to the New York Yankees on a three-year, $45 million contract, and Scott Linebrink has agreed to a four-year, $19 million deal with the Chicago White Sox pending a physical exam.
Just a year ago, the Dodgers lost a pre-Red Sox meltdown Eric Gagne over $2 million. Now top relievers are getting $12-15 million a year.
Is this market inevitability, or is Kevin Towers becoming the next Billy Beane? Towers is renowned for procuring effective relief pitching on the cheap, as well as causing journalists such as Tom Verducci to use the word "fungible" as it applies to the resource of relievers.
Cordero's deal also emphasizes the value of Takashi Saito to the Dodgers. Everyone's focus is on the Hot Stove right now, but the next big issue could be whether Ned Colletti decides to (1) give Saito a raise, (2) promote Jonathan Broxton to closer or (3) sign a free agent reliever.
photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP