Cordero to test free-agent waters

Cordero to test free-agent waters

MILWAUKEE -- All-Star closer Francisco Cordero was among five Brewers who formally filed for free agency on Monday, and the team's longest-tenured player could be next.

According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report, the Brewers have informed Geoff Jenkins' representatives that the team will not exercise his 2008 club option. Jenkins' agent, Damon Lapa, said in an e-mail that Jenkins' status was indeed discussed on Monday.

That bit of news could become official as soon as Tuesday and was widely expected because Jenkins' contract called for a $9 million salary next season. Instead the team will pay a $1 million buyout.

Joining Cordero in filing for free agency on Monday were relievers Ray King and Scott Linebrink, infielder Corey Koskie and catcher Damian Miller. The Brewers own exclusive negotiating rights with these players until Nov. 12.

Cordero, acquired in a July 2006 trade with Texas, has been phenomenal in his 1 1/2 seasons with Milwaukee. He went 16-for-18 in save opportunities down the stretch in 2006, then set a franchise record with 44 saves in 51 chances in 2007 and won a spot on the National League All-Star team. Cordero finished second in the NL in saves to friend and Dominican countryman Jose Valverde of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has already said the team will try to re-sign Cordero.

"We're going to make a very aggressive offer and proposal to Cordero somewhere along the line in hopes of bringing him back," Melvin said a few days after the season. "We know how valuable a closer is in this game.

"When players get this close to free agency, they like to file. For us to get something done sooner is probably a long shot. They get a lot of pressure from the union to test the market when you're a premium player."

Cordero surrendered a couple of home runs in the season finale before recording the final out of the team's 83rd win. He finished with a 2.98 ERA, including a 1.09 ERA in home games, and he held opponents to a .218 batting average.

Cordero, who turned 32 back in May, indicated he would be open to returning but conceded that it "will not be easy."

"I, myself, I am happy." he said. It was an unbelievable season. I don't know what's going to happen. It's not up to me.

"I love it over here. I love all the guys over here, the coaching staff, everybody. I love Milwaukee. Let's see what happens."

The Brewers acquired both Linebrink and King during the season to bolster the bullpen for the team's first run at a playoff spot in at least a decade. The Brewers did notch their first winning season since 1992, but they fell two games short of the Cubs in the NL Central.

Linebrink, a right-hander who cost Milwaukee three pitching prospects in a trade with San Diego, made 27 appearances with the Brewers and went 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA. King, picked up from Washington in a move that helped the Nationals shed some payroll, made 12 September appearances with the Brewers and gave the team another lefty specialist along with Brian Shouse. Melvin indicated he may talk to Linebrink's representatives about a return but has not declared himself on King.

Miller, who turned 38 two weeks after the season ended, hit .237 as a backup to starting catcher Johnny Estrada.

Koskie did not play at all in 2007 while he continued to be affected by post-concussion syndrome. The Brewers designated Koskie for assignment on Monday to clear a 40-man roster spot for onetime top prospect Brad Nelson.

Jenkins mostly started in left field against right-handed pitching and finished with a .255 batting average, 21 home runs and 64 RBIs in 132 games. Originally a first-round Brewers' Draft pick in 1995, he broke into the Majors in 1997 and was by far the longest continuously tenured player on the '07 Brewers (Ben Sheets, who debuted in 2001, was next in line). Jenkins ranks second to Robin Yount on the Brewers' franchise home run list, with 251.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.