Do the Orioles pick Closer A, B, C or D?

Do the Orioles pick Closer A, B, C or D?
December 10, 2013, 1:15 pm
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Orioles are several options for closer. Here are the ABC’s.

A) John Axford

--Buck Showalter doesn’t know a lot about John Axford. He’s never pitched against the Orioles.

--Axford’s agent from the Beverly Hills Sports Council, has reportedly met with the Orioles.

--In 2011, Axford, who’s now 30, led the National League with 46 saves. He had 35 the next year, and none since.

--The St. Louis Cardinals nontendered him last week. Axford was traded from Milwaukee in late August, and pitched well for the Cardinals, but they’re stocked with younger, more affordable arms.

[RELATED: Orioles to hold January minicamp for pitchers]

B) Grant Balfour

--Even though Grant Balfour will turn 36 later this month, he’s not as well-worn as some others.

--Balfour has been in 463 major league games, more than three quarters after he turned 30.

--Fernando Rodney and Joaquin Benoit, who are both the same age, have been in many more games than Balfour. Rodney has been in exactly 100 more and Benoit 78.

--Sixty-two of Balfour’s lifetime 72 saves have come in the last two years.

C) Chris Perez

--Buck Showalter mentioned Perez’s name in a hallway conversation with reporters. At 28, he’s more likely to attract a longer offer than some of the others mentioned, but Perez has 123 saves in the last four years.

--Perez has six saves in 11 games against the Orioles and a 2.25 ERA in four games at Oriole Park.

--We’ll see if the Orioles go with A, B, C—or D—Tommy Hunter—or someone else.