One-time Nationals all-star closer Chad Cordero has refused a minor league assignment with the Seattle Mariners and opted for free agency.
Cordero is working back from a torn labrum that can be almost entirely blamed on the Nationals training staff, who allowed him to pitch through shoulder tendinitis, then a torn lat, which finally led to the torn labrum, once considered a death sentence for pitchers.
Fans may also remember how former GM Jim Bowden unceremoniously announced on live sports talk radio that he would non-tender Cordero, before he'd informed the player or his agent.
Cordero is now 28 years old (that's less than a year older than J.D. Martin). He appeared in 9 games for the Mariners and allow 7 ER in 9.2 IP. That's not great, but he struck out 6, showing that he could compete. Earlier this season at AAA Tacoma, he struck out 22 in 19.2 innings and had a 4.12 ERA.
His velocity is still down, and he never had much to begin with. But his average fastball this season was right about 88 mph in his time in Seattle, not the absurdly slow 83 mph we saw back in 2008 when he last threw for the Nationals.
It seems clear that Cordero will pitch on any team that gives him a shot at pitching in the majors, and why shouldn't it be Washington? As long as he doesn't totally implode, he'll be a fan favorite. Pretty soon Tyler Clippard's arm will fall off, and would you really rather watch Joel Peralta?