The Cubs need a closer—a competent closer, that is.
Current closer Kevin Gregg has been erratic at best this season. Gregg has a pedestrian 4.47 ERA, six blown saves, and has given up a whopping 12 home runs in 56 innings. After last night's debacle in San Diego, it looks like Cubs manager Lou Piniella has had it.
"I think we're going to make some changes as far as what we're going to do in late innings," Piniella said. "We'll have some word [Tuesday]."
The Cubs could make Carlos Marmol closer for the remainder of the season. The right-hander has dominant stuff that can overwhelm hitters, but control is a problem this season. He's walked 52 batters in 56 innings, which has helped produce a 1.47 WHIP.
In my opinion, Marmol is far too erratic to be trusted as the closer.
So who should the Cubs turn to? I like their other in-house options (John Grabow and Angel Guzman), but I'm not sold on either guy as the closer. The Cubs need someone great. The Cubs need someone they can count on.
All of this leads me to Cincinnati, where the hapless Reds currently sit in fifth place in the NL Central, 16.5 games out of first place. The Reds are stuck right now. They are/should be in full rebuilding mode, but they have a number of high-salaried players making it very difficult for the team to fully rebuild.
One player I think the Reds should at least consider moving in the next few weeks is their closer, Francisco Cordero, who has been incredible this season. As John Fay wrote:
"Look at the Cordero signing. He’s been terrific. He’s single-handedly upgraded the bullpen. But the club has lost big in his two years. Why? When one player takes up so much of your payroll, you scrimp elsewhere."
So in essence, moving Cordero, his 1.75 ERA, and his $24 million owed would give the Reds more payroll flexibility in the future.
Cordero is signed with the Reds for the next two years and let's be frank here—the team is going to have a tough time competing. It makes no sense to have your closer as the highest paid player on your team if there is little chance the team will be able to get into save situations.
That's why I think the Cubs and Cordero are a great fit.
The Cubs need a great closer and Cordero is a great closer.
Cordero needs to play in a place where the team will compete. The Cubs are right in the thick of the playoff picture this season.
That being said, would the Cubs actually take on Cordero and the $24 million owed him? Very debatable. Would they ask the Reds to take on some of the contract?
In addition, would Cordero accept a deal with the Cubs? He has a full no-trade clause through this season and can, in theory, dictate where he'd go. Another debatable point.
If the Reds decide to move Cordero this season, he would have to either pass through waivers or be claimed by a club. It's tough to imagine any team outside of the Cubs or Angels putting in a claim for Cordero if he's put on waivers because of his salary.
Can anyone else see Francisco Cordero getting claimed by the Cubs and eventually traded to the team simply for salary relief a la Alex Rios? I think it could happen.
Should the Cubs make a play for Francisco Cordero?