LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Buck Showalter tried to downplay the reports that the Orioles were closing in on a new closer.
“Closer than the day we got here, but I’m looking at the 37 we got on the roster,” Showalter said on Tuesday morning.
There were some reports that the Orioles were near an agreement with former Oakland closer Grant Balfour, and that they were in close contact with John Axford, who St. Louis nontendered last week.
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette refused to characterize the negotiations when he met with reporters on Monday.
“I will say we’re no closer on one than we are on the other,” Showalter said. “I don’t think there’s any offers been made that I’ve been privy to, but Dan doesn’t have to tell me everything.”
For the moment, the closer looks to be Tommy Hunter.
“Trying to figure out from within,” Showalter said. “I have input, certainly. We talk about players. We talk about everybody.”
Showalter had just come from an interview on MLB Network, and he said he’d been asked about Balfour, who had 38 saves in 2013.
“It’s no further along than it is with anybody else,” Showalter said. “That would be erroneous.”
Others that have been mentioned as closer candidates are Chris Perez, David Benoit and Fernando Rodney.
Benoit pitched for Showalter in Texas for four seasons.
The Orioles are also looking at a group of five or six outfielders. Miami’s Logan Morrison is one of them, and they have their eye on two rehabbing pitchers, Gavin Floyd and Joel Hanrahan.
Floyd, from Severna Park, Md. has long intrigued them. He had Tommy John surgery last May. Hanrahan began the year as Boston’s closer. He also had Tommy John surgery in May. He’s been strongly endorsed by bench coach John Russell, who managed him in Pittsburgh.