William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles still interested in Francisco Rodriguez

The Baltimore Orioles thought they had their new closer for 2014 when they agreed to terms on a deal with Grant Balfour. They proceeded to nix that deal due to concerns about Balfour’s physical and his throwing shoulder, something that surprised many people.

As they continue their search to replace Jim Johnson, whom they traded to the Oakland A’s earlier this off-season, it sounds like the Orioles might have an option in-house with Francisco Rodriguez. Roch Kubatko of MASN reports the following:

According to industry sources, the Orioles continue to express interest in free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez and have held discussions with his representatives. It’s definitely intensified over the past few weeks.

Kubatko also notes that the Orioles pursued Fernando Rodney after the deal with Balfour fell through, but says it wasn’t a match in terms of money.

Though they made an immediate push for free agent closer Fernando Rodney after their deal with Grant Balfour fell apart, he may be too pricy for a team that wasn’t willing to pay Jim Johnson $10-$11 million in 2014. There doesn’t appear to be a financial match.

The deal for Balfour, who was rock solid in 2013, was a pretty reasonable two-year, $15 million contract. Does this mean that Rodney, who was completely shaky in 2013 and melted down on national TV during the playoffs, thinks he should command more than that? I believe they call that getting too big for your britches there Fernando.

Back to Rodriguez. He actually didn’t pitch until May in 2013, at which point he resuscitated his career pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers (1.09 ERA in 25 games). That earned him a trade to the Orioles, where he was less dominant with a 4.50 ERA in 23 games. If the truth for K-Rod is somewhere in the middle, that still makes him a solid pitcher at this stage in his career.

If they don’t sign Rodriguez, Kubatko suggests that the Orioles might look internally to Tommy Hunter for the closer’s role.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Francisco Rodriguez

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