Cordero wants to stay with Nats
Closer on trading block for second consecutive offseason
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chad Cordero made it clear on Tuesday: He wants to stay with the Nationals and have his best season to date with them in 2008. That doesn't mean the closer will be in Washington on Opening Day, however.
For the second offseason in a row, Cordero is on the trade block and the Nationals want young talented players in return. It appears, however, that opposing teams are not willing to give up those players right now.
According to one published report, the Brewers turned down a deal that would have sent infielder Rickie Weeks to Washington for Cordero. Another report had the Astros interested in Cordero's services, but they did not want to part with outfielder Luke Scott and reliever Chad Qualls.
Cordero, a young player himself at 25, is happy that opposing teams are rejecting the Nationals' offers, and he took notice how Washington improved itself by acquiring outfielders Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes.
"I want to end my career in D.C.," Cordero said. "I have a good relationship with all the guys on the team. I've been there my entire career. All these guys are great. I love [manager] Manny [Acta], I love all the coaches, I love all the guys in the bullpen because they are basically my family. I see them for eight months out of the year. So they are great and they have treated me great."
Cordero's 2007 season was filled with ups and downs. He got of to a slow start because he was thinking about his ailing grandmother, who passed away in early May. Cordero was placed on the bereavement list from May 8-14. Once he came back to the Nationals, however, Cordero saved 33 games in 38 opportunities. But in the last two months of the season, Cordero had a 5.08 ERA in 24 games. He also blew nine saves in '07.
"I wish it could have been a lot better. I wish I could have cut down on those blown saves," Cordero said. "For the most part, I did the best that I could. I still came out with 37 saves, and that was pretty good."
Cordero wants to make sure that he is consistent throughout the 2008 season. Acknowledging for the first time that he wasn't always in the best of shape during his career, Cordero hired a strength and conditioning coach in Southern California, where he is working out three days a week as he looks to lose about 10-15 pounds. So far, he has lost five pounds. Not being in shape the last three years, according to Cordero, is the reason he ran out of gas toward the end of the season.
Cordero hopes by losing the weight, he can add more speed to his fastball. In recent years, Cordero's fastball has been clocked at 89-91 mph. Before he was drafted by the Expos in 2003, Cordero's fastball was clocked at 94 mph.
"I'm going at it hard. If I do get traded or if I stay in D.C., I want to be in the best shape I could possibly be in," Cordero said. "The last couple of years, I weighed a little bit too much and I have had some weight issues. Hopefully I could lose this weight and last the whole time and not tire out."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.