Reds “optimistic” about working out new contract with closer Francisco Cordero

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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.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.