Zrebiec: Winter Meetings leftovers (Part Deux)
It’s becoming quite apparent that the Orioles are more than willing to wait out the closer market, feeling that the supply far exceeds the demand.
By my calculations, the Orioles, Blue Jays, Tigers, Marlins, Nationals, Astros and Pirates are the only teams with uncertainty at closer, and pretty much all of those teams have internal options.
The Astros recently acquired Matt Lindstrom, who GM Ed Wade said will at least share the closer role. The team that traded Lindstrom, the Marlins, appear more than content to go with Leo Nunez, who closed for much of last season. The Blue Jays have three relievers – Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Jeremy Accardo – that have served as closers before.
The Tigers want a veteran with closer experience, but they can opt to use youngsters Ryan Perry or Daniel Schlereth in that role. And the Nationals have prospect Drew Storen on the way.
Meanwhile, Mike Gonzalez, Fernando Rodney, Jose Valverde, Kevin Gregg, Mike MacDougal and Matt Capps are all free agents, and Kerry Wood, Bobby Jenks and Francisco Cordero are all reportedly available in trades.
Of the free agents, Fernando Rodney probably makes the most sense for the Orioles because they wouldn’t have to give up their second round pick to sign him. And the Orioles did meet with Rodney’s agents at the winter meetings.
Gregg, whose agent also met with the Orioles earlier this week, would probably be an unpopular choice with the Orioles fans as he’s blown 16 saves the previous two seasons and lost his closer job last year with the Chicago Cubs to Carlos Marmol.
Still, Gregg’s got a big supporter in Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who worked with the right-hander in 2006 when Gregg converted 32 of 36 save opportunities for the Florida Marlins. Kranitz loved Gregg’s confidence and toughness. Still, some Oriole officials see Gregg more as a setup man.