Remember when the Orioles traded Jim Johnson to Oakland and were ready to replace him with another proven veteran closer in Grant Balfour? And then something wacky happened with Balfour’s physical and they backed out of the deal? Then after that they were reportedly linked to Fernando Rodney because, well, they made adding a closer one of their top priorities this offseason?
Well, forget all of that. Every last bit of it. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun says after some sole searching, the O’s are just fine at closer.
According to multiple sources, the Orioles have made it known that they are comfortable with in-house options at closer and are instead attempting to acquire at least one veteran starting pitcher. They also have been inquiring about reserve catchers despite having four players at the position currently on their 40-man roster.
Truthfully, I never understood why adding a closer was important to a team with other important holes (starting pitcher, left field, second base and DH). Especially when Tommy Hunter could likely be as efficient as Johnson.
“Big Game” posted a 0.985 WHIP and cut his HR/9 in half from his 2012 mark (2.2, 1.1). His 4.86 K/BB and 150 ERA+ is more than enough reason for me to be comfortable handing Hunter the ball in the 9th.
What’s concerning is the Orioles flip flopping on this topic, making a closer such a priority and then deciding it’s no longer important given their internal candidates. Head scratching news seems to be the trend of this offseason though.
Image Credit: Keith Allison