Trade talks caught Cordero off guard

Trade talks caught Cordero off guard

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Nationals closer Chad Cordero acknowledged on Tuesday that he was surprised that his name was brought up in trade discussions. He hopes to spend the rest of his career in Washington.

As of right now, according to a baseball source, the Red Sox and Nationals are talking about a possible deal that could send Cordero to Boston. The Red Sox need a closer because they plan to put Jonathan Papelbon, their stopper last season, into the starting rotation. The Nationals want young starting pitching in return.

"I love D.C., and to hear my name come up in trade talks is kind of shocking to me," Cordero said. "I think it's great [that teams want me], especially the Red Sox. They have a rich history. Just to play in Boston and Fenway Park would be great. But, hopefully, I could come back to D.C."

Cordero also was mentioned in three-way trades that would have sent outfielder Manny Ramirez to either the Angels or Giants. But it appears that Ramirez will stay with the Red Sox.

So why would the Nationals consider dealing a pitcher like Cordero, who has saved 76 games the last two years? They believe they can get a two-inning closer much easier than they can find a pitcher who could pitch six or seven innings.

But during his media briefing, manager Manny Acta sounded like a man who wanted Cordero to be his closer in 2007.

"One of the most discouraging things in baseball is winning a ballgame for eight innings and losing it in one," Acta said. "Bill Virdon told us way back, 'Wherever you go, you'd better bring a closer with you.' If you go out there for eight innings and play hard and are winning the ballgame, and then in an inning you lose it, it's just tough to swallow, so it's a very important piece of our club."

Ryan Church is another Nationals player whose name surfaced in more trade talks on Tuesday. Baseball sources indicated that the Phillies, Cubs and Tigers have inquired about Church.

The Cubs currently have a team that is dominated by right-handed hitters, and manager Lou Piniella would love to have a player like the left-handed hitting Church in the lineup. The Phillies, on the other hand, are looking for a reserve outfielder to replace David Dellucci, who signed with the Indians. Detroit wants a left-handed power hitter off the bench.

"We talked to nine teams today," general manager Jim Bowden said. "We are making progress on some fronts and not making progress in other fronts. The free-agent signings have certainly made our plan even more valid. It's creating more of a trade market -- at least for discussions -- because of the incredible free-agent market. I never seen this many bad signings in my entire career."

Another player the Nationals are looking to trade is second baseman Jose Vidro, but so far, there have been no takers. Vidro will be hard to trade for two reasons: He has two years left on a contract worth $16 million, and he had a tough time driving in runs and fielding his position after coming off the disabled list in mid-August.

In other news, the Reds still have not filed a complaint to the Commissioner's office over the eight-player trade that sent reliever Gary Majewski from Washington to Cincinnati. The Reds felt Majewski had a bad right shoulder before the trade was made.

"It's in the hands of attorneys," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "There's a lot of work that goes into it. We're putting a case together as best we can."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for Reporter Mark Sheldon contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.