Roundup: Cordero, Vizquel join Blue Jays

US Presswire/Jeff Hanisch

Francisco Cordero's 194 saves since 2007 are the most in the majors.

Stats & Information's weekly roundup of notable baseball moves:

Toronto Blue Jays sign pitcher Francisco Cordero to one-year contract

Three notes on the changes related to Cordero’s performance over the last two seasons.

1-- Cordero’s average fastball velocity dropped from 94.3 miles-per-hour in 2010 to 92.6 in 2011. Fastballs and sinkers, which made up more than two-thirds of his pitches in 2010, represented 44 percent of his pitches in 2011.

2-- Cordero’s ground ball rate increased from 42 percent in 2010 to 48 percent in 2011. His opponents’ batting average on ground balls dropped 100 points, from .250 to .150 in that span. That .150 ranked sixth-best in the majors among those who induced at least 75 ground balls in 2011.

Francisco Cordero
On Ground Balls “Up The Middle”

3-- Our advanced hit location data shows Cordero’s batting average made the biggest drop on ground balls hit between 15 degrees to the right and 15 degrees to the left of second base (in other words, the middle of the field).

The chart on the right shows the difference, as well as an increase in plays made by Reds shortstops.

--Mark Simon

Blue Jays sign infielder Omar Vizquel

to minor league contract

If Vizquel makes the major-league roster, he will be chasing two milestones, both with the same number -- 3,000.

Vizquel has 2,841 hits, leaving him 159 away from becoming the 29th player with 3,000 hits. Vizquel has 137 hits over the last two seasons.

Vizquel could be the fourth player of Hispanic heritage in the 3,000-hit club, joining Roberto Clemente, Rod Carew, and Rafael Palmeiro.

Another milestone would occur if Vizquel (2,908 games played) plays in 92 games. He would become the ninth player in major league history to play in 3,000 games. Vizquel who turns 45 on April 24, played in 108 and 58 games the last two seasons.

Both the active leader and the No. 2 man in sacrifice bunts signed this week. Vizquel has 255 sacrifices, 111 more than new Phillies free agent signee Juan Pierre.

Thirty players who played in the majors last season were born after Vizquel made his major league debut on April 3, 1989, including Vizquel’s infield mate, Brett Lawrie.

--Zachary Singer/Kevin Gibson

Other moves of note

Quick hits on other signings from the past week-- players who share a theme of being given opportunity despite recent struggles.

New Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jeff Francis is 14-32 in four seasons since starting Game 1 of the 2007 World Series (he was 17-9 that season). His .304 winning percentage is third-worst among the 162 pitchers who have made at least 50 starts in that span.

New Houston Astros pitcher Zach Duke is 40-72 over the last six seasons. His .357 winning percentage is the worst among the 105 pitchers who made at least 100 starts in that span. Duke was 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 2005.

New San Francisco Giants shortstop Ryan Theriot has dealt with injuries and not fared well via advanced defensive metrics over the last two seasons. His -17 Defensive Runs Saved (a stat that measures a shortstop’s effectiveness of turning batted balls into outs and converting double plays) in 1,001 innings are tied for fourth-worst among shortstops in that span.

--Mark Simon