It’s not Cordero’s fault

If your closer can make Brandon Inge celebrate like this, he probably shouldn’t be your closer.

It’s not Francisco Cordero’s fault. It’s really not. Never mind the fact that, to date, opposition batters have posted a 1.164 OPS against him. Never mind that his ERA is closing in on double digits. Never mind the fact that he’s blown three of five save opportunities so far this year. It’s really not his fault.

The blame for Cordero’s failures has to fall squarely on the shoulders of manager John Farrell. No, Farrell is not on the field failing to get the job done, but Farrell is the one who continues to put Cordero in at times when it seems he shouldn’t be called upon.

Farrell has said many times that he misused the bullpen last year and that he believes the relievers need defined roles to help them succeed. I’m not one to completely deny the fact that psychological factors can affect a player’s performance, so I’m willing to buy it. But for Farrell to say that Cordero is “our guy” is just plain wrong.

The team has a capital-C closer (whether a team really needs someone in that role is an argument for another day). His name is Sergio Santos. Yes, he’s on the disabled list, but just because he’s out, doesn’t mean his role has to be filled.

It seems to me that Farrell should be telling his guys that, while Santos is out, who he calls upon to close out a game will be a decision based on how his relievers have pitched lately and any sort of statistical evidence that suggests a given pitcher would have success against whoever’s due up for the opposition in the ninth. Maybe that’s Jason Frasor or Darren Oliver. Maybe it’s Luis Perez. Hell, maybe it’s even Cordero.

I do believe that Cordero has value. I do believe there are situations in which he could be called upon to do good for the Toronto Blue Jays. But it’s obvious that, for right now anyway, he should not be the team’s go-to ninth inning guy. And bad results that come out of the team continuing to call on him in save situations have to fall on Farrell for continuing to treat Cordero as “our guy.”

3 thoughts on “It’s not Cordero’s fault

  1. I agree that now is the time to switch him out of automatically being “the guy” … But, when Santos went down he was definitely the most qualified to fill in for him and there was really no way of knowing that things would go as badly as they have. While I think in general defined roles are silly, I don’t think for a closer it can just be a “we’ll let you know in the 8th inning” type of thing. There is a different mindset involved in closing and I think it does require a fair bit of mental preparation and not all guys can handle it.

    • Fair enough. Maybe Farrell needs to pick a couple of guys every day based on how they’ve been pitching lately and say something like “if the game’s close late, get ready. I’ll call on one of you depending on who’s coming up to bat.”

  2. I agree with Cole – when Santos went on the DL, it seemed natural to have Cordero fill in but now he has shown he no longer has the goods ( maybe one reason he was flopping around on the free agent market at a discount price). I think you now announce a closer by committee until Santos returns.

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