The Reds will need a better season from Cordero in 2011. (The Enquirer/Joseph Fuqua II)

Closer Francisco Cordero’s troubles in 2010 were well-documented.

CoCo posted a 3.84 ERA with an ERA+ of 104. Both marks were his worst in more than a decade (he also had the lowest WAR and highest WHIP in a decade). Though Cordero saved 40 games, which was among the league leaders, he also blew 8 saves. Those 8 blown saves were the most he’s had since joining the Reds, and the number tied for the most blown saves in the major leagues. By any account, it wasn’t a great year for the highly-paid closer.

Despite all that, Cordero actually gained a few fans by saying that the crowds were correct to boo him. It’s unlikely, however, that Reds fans will be very forgiving of a repeat of 2010. With Aroldis Chapman tossing flames in the bullpen, expect to hear a clamor for a change in the closer’s role if Cordero continues to struggle.

It’s only the first outing of the spring, so there’s no reason to get excited…yet. But CoCo did not impress in his 2011 debut:

If Monday’s game were the second game of the season and not the second exhibition game, the internet would be filled with calls for Francisco Cordero’s job.

Cordero’s spring debut was a replay of his some of his not-so-finer moments from the 2010 season. Cordero got a quick out, walked the No. 9 batter and gave up a hit. He then got a strikeout for the second out. But he fell behind Shin-Soo Choo 3-1 and Choo punched one into left field to get a run home.

“When you’re in that role, it doesn’t take much to be perceived as a hero or a zero,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “One walk, one hit-batsman, one homer, anything.”

Read the entire piece, which includes lots of quotes, including this one:

To that end, he came in about 10 pounds lighter. He thinks his weight last year – he was over 250 pounds – may have affected his mechanics.

“For the first time in my career, I felt like I was heavy,” Cordero said. “I’ve never been that heavy. It was something I was worried about and I know the team was worrying about. The weight can do some bad things to your mechanics. I wanted to be a little leaner. I feel a lot better than way. I feel looser, lighter. I feel like I can do more.”

He also says that pitching coach Bryan Price “spotted a flaw” in his delivery, and that he’s correcting it. Okay, whatever.

So Cordero is in better shape and he’s working on correcting a mechanical flaw and everything’s a work in progress and he expects to have a better season in 2011. It’s like every single spring training article, all rolled into one!

I don’t know what to expect from CoCo. I hope he’s better this year but, frankly, I’m not particularly optimistic. In fact, there’s a good argument to be made that Cordero, Cincinnati’s closer, might be the weakest link in the Reds bullpen.

This is a storyline that will be developing throughout the spring and into the regular season. Settle in; it’s going to be interesting.