Source: Reds, closer Cordero have preliminary agreement

Updated: November 23, 2007, 9:33 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick |

The Cincinnati Reds have reached preliminary agreement on a four-year, $46 million contract with closer Francisco Cordero, a baseball source confirmed Friday to

Francisco Cordero


Relief Pitcher
Milwaukee Brewers


2007 Season Stats
66 0 4 18 86 2.98

The deal, which includes a club option for a fifth year, is subject to Cordero passing a physical exam. The agreement was first reported by

Cordero, 32, has 177 career saves in nine seasons with Detroit, Texas and Milwaukee. He ranked second in the National League with 44 saves last season in Milwaukee and made the National League All-Star team.

The Brewers and Houston Astros were also pursuing Cordero before he signed with Cincinnati.

Cordero, speaking Friday on a sports radio program in the Dominican Republic, hinted that he had received a lucrative offer from Cincinnati.

"I would have liked to stay in Milwaukee, but it's not up to me," he said. "We will see what happens with the management and the owners of the Brewers, because we are willing to hear their offers.''

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he offered Cordero a four-year, $42 million deal with an option for a fifth year.

"I thought we had a chance to keep 'Coco,' " Melvin said. "Our offer was competitive. As important as he was to us, we just felt (the bidding) was getting to be too much.''

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.

In addition, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired closer Brad Lidge from the Houston Astros as part of a five-player trade.

Cordero helps upgrade a Cincinnati bullpen that went 23-31 last season and posted a National League-worst 5.10 ERA. David Weathers led the Reds with 33 saves, but has been a setup man for most of his major league career.

Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN Insider.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Jerry Crasnick | email MLB Sr. Writer