With Grant Balfour gone, Orioles pursuing Fernando Rodney to close

Now that the Rays have signed Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney could find a home in Baltimore. (USATSI)
Now that the Rays have signed Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney could find a home in Baltimore. (USATSI)

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The Orioles are in talks with free-agent closer Fernando Rodney, who would fill a need that's needed filling since they traded Jim Johnson to the A's.

Baltimore and Rodney look like they could use each other now, as there aren't many closing jobs available, or for that matter, closers left on the market.

The Orioles thought they had their new closer when Grant Balfour agreed to a $15-million, two-year deal several weeks ago before issues arose on his Orioles medical. Balfour agreed to a deal for $12 million over two years with his old Tampa Bay Rays team on Thursday; he replaces Rodney as closer there.

The Mets and Mariners are among teams that could have interest in a closer, as well, as the Mets tried for Balfour; however, one source said the Mets are "not likely" to land Rodney. The Yankees also are said not interested in Rodney.

At the moment, the Orioles appear to be the team in pursuit of Rodney, who has had success in the AL East -- though not as much in 2013 as the previous year. Following his brilliant 2012 season, when he had a 0.60 ERA and 0.78 WHIP, Rodney had a 3.38 ERA and 1.335 WHIP last year. But he still had 37 saves.

The Orioles have suggested hard-throwing Tommy Hunter will close if they don't find an established closer, but they are still trying to find one, obviously. The Orioles have said they still have moves to make this winter, no surprise since they've lost several players to free agency and trades, including Johnson.

Jonah Keri first reported the Orioles had ramped up their interest in Balfour.

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