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Chad Cordero

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Chad Patrick Cordero
(The Chief)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Chad Cordero pitched five scoreless innings in the 2002 World University Championship, getting one save. After starring as a reliever for Cal State-Fullerton, leading them to the 2003 College World Series, he was a surprise first-round pick by the Montreal Expos in the 2003 amateur draft. The Expos had been known for drafting mainly high school players with their top picks, with little success in recent years. However, they saw in Cordero a pitcher who already had major league stuff, and after a few weeks in the Florida State League, he was called up to the major leagues on August 30, 2003, making his debut the same day. The Expos were fighting the Florida Marlins for the National League Wild Card, and the early call-up made Cordero eligible for the postseason. Surprisingly, he was not even the first player from the 2003 draft class to reach the majors, as fellow first rounder Ryan Wagner, also a reliever, had beaten him to the punch by a few days with the Cincinnati Reds.

Cordero pitched well in his first taste of the major leagues in spite of his limited experience, earning his first win and save towards the end of the season and putting up a 1.64 ERA in 12 games, although the Marlins had surged well ahead of the Expos, on their way to an upset World Championship. Cordero earned a spot in the Expos' bullpen in 2004 and never looked back. He first became the set-up man for closer Rocky Biddle, and when Biddle struggled badly in mid-year, took over for him as closer. He went 7-3 with 14 saves and a 2.94 ERA in 69 games. The Expos moved to Washington, DC after the season, becoming the Washington Nationals and Cordero had his best season in the team's inaugural year in 2005. He led the National League with 47 saves, had an outstanding 1.82 ERA and won the NL Rolaids Relief Award while being named to the All-Star team. He continued to pitch well over the next two years as the team's closer, saving 29 games in 2006 and another 37 in 2007, with solid ERAs both years, but he was injured in 2008 and never was the same afterwards.

From 2008 to 2010, he only pitched 14 major league innings. His last stint was with the Seattle Mariners in 2010; they had signed him as a free agent in March of the previous year, but he never regained his form, putting up a 6.52 ERA in 9 games. He played his last major league game on July 9 of that year. The New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays both gave him a look in the minor leagues afterwards, and he also pitched briefly for the independent St. Paul Saints in 2011, but on June 20th of that year, seeing the writing on the wall, he announced his retirement from the game at age 29.

However, Cordero's retirement did not last. In 2013, he felt the urge to play again, especially after hitting 92 mph with his fastball during the annual Cal-State Fullerton alumni game. He had been working out with his former strength coach and had lost about 40 pounds in the interim. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim took an interest and signed him to a minor league contract just before the start of spring training.

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