The bullpen is going to look VERY different

Posted by Steve

Well on Wednesday the White Sox signed Scott Linebrink away from the Brewers. No surprise there, as Linebrink was thought all along to be a rental who the Brewers would cash in for draft picks.

Certainly the more interesting news today is that Francisco Cordero is on the verge of leaving the Brewers. Ken Rosenthal reports that Cordero is on the verge of signing with the Reds. That links to the full article, but here’s a snippet:

Cordero is still talking to three clubs, but it is believed that the Reds have emerged as the front-runner over the Brewers and an unidentified third team.

The Brewers, who are on the verge of losing setup man Scott Linebrink to the White Sox, offered Cordero a four-year, $42 million contract, sources say.

Sort of a surprising destination, as I hadn’t heard the Reds linked with Coco at all (similar to Torri Hunter signing out of nowhere with the Angels. That 4 years/40 mil deal to Gary Matthews looks great one year in, huh?). To me the most interesting part of Rosenthal’s report is that the Brewers offered a 4 year-$42 million contract. Many, including myself, figured the Brewers may not even offer a fourth year. That’s the contract that Billy Wagner got (4 years/43 mil), so this isn’t like the Brewers’ token offer to Carlos Lee before trading him that ended up being barely half of what he got in free agency. That’s a very serious offer.

I wouldn’t really go any higher, in fact, I’m not even sure how I’d feel about that deal. Since I can’t imagine Cordero would rather pitch for the Reds if the money was similar, Cinci must have made a pretty huge offer. It would be crazy if they added a fifth year.

Of course the bummer of all of this, aside from the obvious fact that the Brewers’ bullpen is currently in shambles, is their crummy luck with compensation picks. Since both the Reds and White Sox were bad this season, their first round pick is top-15 protected. This means that instead of two picks in the 16-30 range along with two sandwich picks, they’ll get two picks in the 46-65 range, depending on how many sandwich picks. Even worse, if the White Sox sign another free agent that ranks above Linebrink, such as Aaron Rowand, the compensation for Linebrink falls to a third rounder.

Regardless, the Brewers will still have extra picks at the beginning of the draft, which they haven’t had under Melvin. And sure the bullpen looks bad right now, but with Jenkins, Cordero and Linebrink off the books, the Brewers have a big chunk of change to play with. It’s certainly enough to add a starting outfielder/third baseman and a few relievers to fill out the bullpen.

I think there’s a decent shot that the Brewers swing a trade for a high-end reliever, such as Brian Fuentes, Chad Cordero, Joe Nathan, Bobby Jenks or even Huston Street. A Fuentes/Capuano trade has been thrown around in a few places, and that seems to make sense. Fuentes is available due to his falling out last season and the emergence of Manny Corpas, yet Fuentes’ numbers are still very solid away from Coors. Capuano would be a good fit at Coors because he rarely throws breaking balls.

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Edit:

I cleaned up the blogroll and added a couple new sites that are great sources:  mlb4u and tangotiger.

I strongly recommend people check out the latest post at firejoemorgan. Link on our sidebar. It’s about how Jimmy Rollins shouldn’t have been MVP, which I discussed a couple posts ago. And it’s also hilarious.

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