PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies traded two closers in 2015 and will hold auditions for the role in spring training. Down the road, the job could belong to Jimmy Cordero, a righthander with a fastball that can reach triple digits.
The 24-year-old is one of two power-armed relievers from the Dominican Republic who the Phillies acquired from the Blue Jays for outfielder Ben Revere in July. The other is 21-year-old righty Alberto Tirado, whom Philadelphia left exposed in the recent Rule 5 draft, but he went unselected.
The book on Cordero is similar, though he is older, more advanced and was added to the 40-man roster in November. He made 45 appearances at high Class A and Double-A in 2015, recording a 2.55 ERA to go with 8.6 strikeouts and 3.2 walks per nine innings.
Phillies officials, who for years had seen Cordero as an opponent, were impressed with his work after the trade. In 17 innings at Double-A Reading, he allowed just 11 hits while walking four and striking out 18.
“I’ve seen a lot of Cordero,” director of player development Joe Jordan said. “I like him. I especially like what I saw late in the season. I saw signs of a pitcher. He showed consistency filling up the zone. He’s as good an arm as we have. We’re anxious to see more.”
The Phillies traded Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals in July, opening the closer’s role for homegrown Ken Giles. The rebuilding Phillies then dealt Giles to the Astros in December for a package of five pitchers that included righthanders Vincent Velasquez, Mark Appel and Thomas Eshelman.
General manager Matt Klentak said the Giles deal was one “we couldn’t pass up.”
In the long term, Cordero could be the club’s closer if he continues to harness his power stuff. Regardless, the 2016 season could be an important indicator of his future.
“We think that Cordero has the weapons to be a (high-leverage) reliever,” Klentak said. “We’ll see. Sometimes in the minor leagues, the development of the player takes precedent over the role they serve.”
• Shortstop J.P. Crawford, the organization’s top prospect, will participate in his first big league camp this spring.
• First baseman Brock Stassi, the MVP of the Double-A Eastern League in 2015, also earned an invite to big league camp. The 26-year-old hit .300 with 15 homers and 90 RBIs.