Nats Waive Cordero; Pena Re-ups

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, October 30, 2008 | , , , , | 4 comments »

From the Washington Nationals this afternoon:

NATIONALS OUTRIGHT THREE PLAYERS TO SYRACUSE, ANNOUNCE WILY MO PENA HAS EXERCISED OPTION ON 2009 CONTRACT

The Washington Nationals today announced they have outrighted right-handed pitcher Chad Cordero, right-handed pitcher Ryan Wagner and infielder Pete Orr to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. All three players elected free agency. The Nationals also announced they have rejected a $5 million club option on outfielder Wily Mo Pena, who subsequently exercised a $2 million player option for the 2009 season. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcements.

Pena, 26, has batted .241 with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 101 games with the Nationals since being acquired from Boston on August 17, 2007 in exchange for a player to be named (first baseman Chris Carter). He is a .253 hitter with 77 home runs and 225 RBI in 560 big league games spanning seven seasons with Cincinnati, Boston and Washington.

The 26 year-old Cordero pitched in only six games last season and had season-ending right-shoulder surgery on July 8. Cordero’s 128 career saves rank second on the franchise’s all-time list behind only Jeff Reardon (152). He departs having pocketed 113 of the 157 saves recorded by the Nationals since 2005.

Wagner, 26, did not pitch in the big leagues in 2008 while working his way back from June 5, 2007 SLAP repair surgery on his right shoulder. He is 11-9 with 30 holds and a 4.79 ERA in 148 games with Cincinnati and Washington.

In 2008, the 29 year-old Orr batted .253 with seven RBI in 49 games in
his only season with the Nationals.

BOTTOM(FEEDER) LINE: This was totally predicted. Cordero couldn't return to the team for any kind of guaranteed money with his injury, and after Bowden told the media before Cordero about their intention to non-tender him, Cordero certainly wasn't going to do any favors for the team. Hopefully he gets healthy and someone gives him a fair shot, but I think it'll be into the season, just like Freddie Garcia this year, before someone signs him.

Wagner never fully recovered from his labrum surgery, like most who have it done. I will be shocked if he's ever a useful MLB player again. Orr will sign somewhere for organizational depth.

Pena, however, is another story. The Nats are stuck with him, and he with them. If it really was the injury keeping him from producing last year, the $2M salary won't look so bad. Then, the Nats will give him a two-year, $5M per deal just like Young and Guzman. I kid. Seriously though, if he still looks terrible in spring training, it'll be interesting to see if the Nats eat his salary, since outfield is one place on the team that they actually have some talent, and it'll be tough to carry Pena's dead weight all season, unless they hide him like they did Meathook this summer.

Photos (c) C. Nichols 2008.

4 comments

  1. Wil Nieves // October 31, 2008 at 12:35 PM  

    Do you really think that Willy Mo minds being "stuck" with the Nationals? I mean, he is getting paid $2 million to potentially be terrible next season. Would any other team have given him an option like this?

  2. Dave Nichols // October 31, 2008 at 1:15 PM  

    i was just saying that he was stuck, as in didn't have any other option than to exercize his option to stay here. there's no way he could go out on the free agent market and get $2M from anyone else right now.

  3. An Briosca Mor // October 31, 2008 at 2:24 PM  

    There's really not room on this team, bad as it is, for both Pena and Kearns. Neither is tradeable, so unless both of them do complete turnarounds and start scorching it up from the get-go in spring training the Nats are going to have to Patterson at least one of them. Most likely it will be Pena since he's the cheaper of the two.

  4. Dave Nichols // October 31, 2008 at 2:37 PM  

    ABM, i referenced that in my original post, without specifically mentioning Kearns. it'll be really interesting to see how all this shakes out during spring training, and it will probably carry over into April.

    but you are absolutely correct in that they can't carry dead waight if Pena doesn't return to some sort of form.

    i'd like to see them come north without Pena or Kearns, frankly. Milledge, Bernadina and Dukes starting, Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell on the bench. let Bernadina and Maxwell play their way in/out of the big leagues.