Acta: Nats miss Cordero, Rauch
From 2005 to 2008, the bullpen was the least of the Nationals’ worries. They had Jon Rauch as the eighth-inning setup man, while Chad Cordero would pick up the saves. They were workhorses and never afraid to enter a game with the winning run on base.
The Nationals don’t have that luxury right now, for they are no longer on the team. Cordero became a free agent after the 2008 season and vowed not to come back because then-general manager Jim Bowden was still a member of the organization. It was Bowden who traded Rauch to the Diamondbacks for infielder Emilio Bonifacio on July 22, 2008.
With Cordero and Rauch gone, the Nationals’ bullpen is one of the worst in baseball. Entering Friday’s action, it has a 5.40 ERA. They have already used 11 relievers this season, including two closers.
Manager Manny Acta said he didn’t know how much Cordero and Rauch would be missed until now.
“I’m finding out right now how tough life is without them,” Acta said. “That was our strength the last three years. We worried about getting enough starting pitching and putting together some middle innings.
“Cordero was on top of his game, [with Rauch], the eighth inning was money in the bank. Whenever Cordero got hurt, Rauch stepped in and did a very fine job. It’s not easy to substitute two guys like that in the back of our bullpen. We thought we were going to get over it, but it hasn’t been as easy.”