The Reds appear to be making quick progress in contract talks with closer Francisco Cordero.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer this afternoon that he is “optimistic” the two sides will be able to work out a new deal in lieu of Cordero’s $12 million club option for 2012. They are currently in talks about a potential two-year deal.
“We’re just waiting more for them to get back to us. I’m more optimistic something will get done there in the near future just because we’ve made more progress.”
Cordero, 36, has a 2.49 ERA, 36 saves and a 42/18 K/BB ratio over 68 2/3 innings this season. While he has been excellent on the surface, his strikeout rate (5.50 K/9) and fastball velocity (93 mph, down from 95.1 mph career) have reached career-lows.
It appears Cordero is reaching the end, but with Aroldis Chapman expected to get another shot as a starting pitcher and Nick Masset regressing this season, it’s at least defensible to being him back on a two-year deal at a lesser annual salary.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.