Following the logical next steps after their deal with closer Grant Balfour fell through, the Baltimore Orioles turned their sights to former Rays closer Fernando Rodney. It sounds like they have shifted their interest into the “aggressive” stage, at least according to reports:
Source: #Orioles being aggressive trying to land Fernando Rodney now that Balfour deal has collapsed.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 21, 2013
The volatility of guys like Rodney from one season to the next means that there is always some risk involved. That might also explain, though, why teams are not forced to hand out huge deals to land closers. The $15 million offered to Balfour was not an overwhelming deal, and it likely would be the same with Rodney. After trading Jim Johnson, who is trending upward coming off a 51 save season, the Orioles would now be turning to a guy coming off a season in which he crashed back to earth.
In 2012 Rodney converted 48 of 50 save opportunities; in 2013 he only converted 37 of 45 save opportunities. What was disconcerting was his utter lack of command in certain appearances. It’s hard to shake the visual of him issuing walk after walk on national television in last year’s playoffs. The Orioles decided that Balfour was not worth the risk because of an old shoulder injury. Now they shift their attention to a guy who sometimes goes 15+ pitches without throwing a strike.
Which risk would you rather take?