A former first-round pick by the Montreal Expos, Chad Cordero has been an All-Star, a NL Relief Man of the Year, and owns a 2.89/1.21 ERA/WHIP over his eight-years in the bigs, with a .220 BAA and 128 saves to his name.
Cordero will only be turning 31 in March this year, but a litany of shoulder issues have seem him pitch just 10 innings in the bigs since 2007, leading to his eventual retirement from professional baseball in 2011. While his body has failed his career, it’s pretty safe to say that Cordero was once a pretty good reliever in the major leagues.
In 2013, he’ll try to get back there with his hometown Los Angeles Angels:
Though I’m sure the dream scenario would be for the right-hander to jump right in and contribute as though he never left the game, the road back to the majors is likely going to be quite long for Cordero.
First and foremost, he’ll have to show that his shoulder will hold up to the rigors of pitching once again. That hasn’t happened since he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2008, and it’s likely that any setback that will quickly put an end to his minor league aspirations with the Angels.
And it will be the minor leagues that await Cordero at this point, of course. The team has more than its fair share of relievers even with Ryan Madson being out of action right now, and the ideal-world scenario where a healthy Cordero goes though Spring Training without issue would still yield a very little chance that he’s anything more than depth at the minor leagues.
For the Angels, it’s a no-risk shot in the dark to see whether a former reliever who has a track record of being effective at the highest level can still pitch like it at a prime age.
If Cordero can make it back to a major league mound from retirement in 2013 and pitch like he used to, the former Expos’ narrative could end up providing a feel-good boost to the team’s morale.
There’s nothing quite like an unlikely comeback story, after all, and a hometown success story like Cordero’s would be something that fans and teammates alike can rally around in 2013, especially if the team can match it with a AL West-winning season.