Veteran right-hander Francisco Cordero was unable to land a ninth-inning gig this past offseason and instead settled for a setup job and a one-year, $4.5 million free agent contract with the Blue Jays.
But he was traded to the Astros as part of Friday morning’s two-team, 10-player swap and has now stumbled back into his more familiar role.
From Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle comes word that Cordero has been named the Astros’ new closer, filling the spot left vacant by Saturday’s Brett Myers trade. It’s another crafty move by ‘Stros GM Jeff Luhnow, who may be able to get a bit of young talent out of the 37-year-old Cordero if he proves capable of retiring batters between now and the August 31 waiver deadline.
Cordero posted a rough 5.60 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in his 35 1/3 innings with Toronto, but lineups in the National League Central are considerably easier to navigate than those in the American League East.
Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Nick Pivetta will rejoin the Phillies’ rotation, starting Tuesday’s series opener at home against the Cardinals. Vince Velasquez will remain in the bullpen.
Pivetta, 26, allowed 17 earned runs on 31 hits and eight walks with 16 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings across his first four starts of the season. The performance resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In six starts there, Pivetta had a much better 3.41 ERA with a 50/20 K/BB ratio in 37 innings of work.
Velasquez, 26, was solid as a starter, posting a 3.99 ERA across six starts. However, he averaged under five innings and 92 pitches per start. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday against the Brewers but was torched for four runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday. Mixed results, to say the least. The Phillies are trying to do what they can with their bullpen, currently missing David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, and Vìctor Arano.