Not only couldn’t Francisco Cordero secure a multi-year contract coming off a season in which the longtime closer saved 37 games with a 2.45 ERA, it turns out he couldn’t even find a closing gig.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Cordero has agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Blue Jays, who plan to use him as a setup man in front of new closer Sergio Santos.
Reports earlier this offseason suggested that Cordero turned down a deal to re-sign with the Reds that was worth at least $12 million for two years and later turned down a one-year offer worth around $7 million.
If true Cordero and his agent severely overestimated the market for a 36-year-old closer with a rapidly declining strikeout rate, particularly during an offseason with no shortage of veteran closers as free agents.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.