Cincinnati Reds: Is 2012 the Year for Brad Boxberger to Close

Diamond NotesCorrespondent IIIOctober 20, 2011

Francisco Cordero
Francisco CorderoJohn Sommers II/Getty Images

Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Brad Boxberger is pitching well in the Arizona Fall League and making his case for the Reds closer position.

Francisco Cordero has been the Reds closer for the last four seasons and enjoyed a very strong 2011 campaign. He was 5-3 with a 2.45 ERA and an 1.02 WHIP. However, if you remove a poor four games spell from July 6 through July 10, he was 5-1 with a 1.63 ERA and an 0.89 WHIP.

Those numbers put Cordero near the top when it comes to closers, and on September 26, 2011 John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported in his article "Reds, Cordero talking about him returning" that Cordero is optimistic about returning to the Reds next year.

"They called my agent and talked about me coming back," Cordero said. "And they told me personally that they want me back. They know I want to come back."

Sounds as those the Reds and Cordero should be able to work something out. However, the Reds hold a $12 million option on Cordero and Fay reported that Cordero would have to agree to an extension at less than that per year for the Reds to bring him back.

In October, Fay reported in his article "All quiet for Cordero, Phillips" that basically nothing has happened on the Francisco Cordero and Brandon Phillips fronts.

To compound the matter, Reds highly talented pitching prospect Brad Boxberger seems to be proving himself ready to step in as the 2012 closer.

Boxberger posted 11 saves in 2011 with a 2.03 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 62 innings of work between AA Carolina and AAA Louisville. In addition, he recorded 93 strikeouts in those 62 innings.

He currently his pitching for the Arizona Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League and has continued to pitch well. In five games he has recorded a 1.35 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and 12 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings work.

Cordero will likely remain the Reds closer if he is willing to sign for a reasonable amount. If so, the Reds should have a very strong 1-2 punch at the tail end of the pen.