Trade Cordero? It's an Issue of Getting Value

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 20, 2007

Chad Cordero spent much of the offseason reading about how the Washington Nationals, the franchise that drafted him and gave him a chance to lead the majors with 47 saves in 2005, might trade him. Now, less than two weeks before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Cordero's future could be uncertain again.

With bullpen help a primary need of several contending clubs -- including the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox -- Cordero could be pursued by a number of teams. Mets General Manager Omar Minaya drafted Cordero when he held the same position with the Montreal Expos, the Nationals' predecessors. The Mets talked to the Nationals about Cordero in the offseason.

A trade for Cordero, though, might be difficult. For several teams, the Mets and Red Sox included, Cordero likely would serve as a setup man. The Nationals, however, know him as a 25-year-old who isn't a free agent until after the 2009 season and who has saved 108 games with a 2.63 ERA in his less than four full major league seasons.

"They should ask for a closer's value for him," one National League executive said this week. "But I'm not sure other teams will be willing to pay that price for him."

Cordero said yesterday that he was open to changing roles.

"I'll do whatever the manager wants me to do," Cordero said. "If they want me to close, if they want me to be a seventh- or eighth-inning guy, whatever they want me to do."

Cordero's preference, he said, would be to stay in Washington.

"I would love to stay here," he said. "I would love to see the new stadium open."

Simontacchi Is Scratched

Right-hander Jason Simontacchi, scheduled to start tonight, was scratched late yesterday because of tendinitis in his right elbow. Left-hander Billy Traber will start in his place.

Simontacchi, who is 6-7 with a 6.37 ERA and has a decision in each of his 13 starts, is expected to miss only one turn.

Traber has a 4.50 ERA in 23 relief appearances this season. He went 3-3 with a 7.75 ERA as a starter for the Nationals last season.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company