In need of help on in all phases of their pitching staff, the Baltimore Orioles are keeping the possibility of a reunion open with two free agent pitchers: closer Francisco Rodriguez and starting pitcher Jason Hammel.
About K-Rod, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes the following:
But now, with Jim Johnson gone, he is a little more intriguing. The Orioles have inquired about K-Rod. And if K-Rod wants to close, the Orioles have one of the few closer openings in the game.”
That would be the closer’s spot vacated by Grant Balfour when the team vetoed his deal with them earlier this winter. Other than Rodriguez or another free agent like Fernando Rodney, the Orioles have Tommy Hunter as an option to close. It would appear that’s wide open for K-Rod if he is open to a return.
As for Hammel, Encina writes the following:
Hammel, who was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter last season, remains unsigned. The longer he sits on the market, the more likely a reunion could occur.”
Encina also notes that there might be better options on the market than Hammel (7-8 in 2013 with a 4.97 ERA and a 4.93 FIP). That probably means a team-friendly deal if a reunion does occur. Hammel has received minimal interest from teams such as the Colorado Rockies this off-season.