Cincinnati has exercised its $12 million option on second baseman Brandon Phillips, but made closer Francisco Cordero a free agent by declining his $12 million option.
Cordero will get a $1 million buyout instead and joins an already crowded closer market, although the Reds have repeatedly indicated that they’d like to re-sign him for a lesser salary. Cordero had 37 saves and a nice-looking 2.45 ERA, but also posted by far the worst strikeout rate of his career at age 36.
Phillips is a no-brainer for $12 million, so the bigger question will be whether the Reds make a significant effort to sign him beyond 2012. Phillips is one season away from a big payday as a free agent and the 30-year-old has said he’s not interested in giving Cincinnati a hometown discount.