If the Orioles sign some outside help to close, they could still decide to use someone from in house to do the job.
Maybe it’s an obvious candidate. Maybe it isn’t.
In 2013, the Boston Red Sox started the season with Joel Hanrahan as their closer. After nine appearances, Hanrahan was finished for the season.
Andrew Bailey was next. He was gone by midseason.
After two injured closers, the Red Sox turned to Koji Uehara, and he turned out to be terrific. But, that wasn’t the role he was developed for.
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Jim Johnson was supposed to be a starter, and as late as two years ago, the Orioles thought he might be, even if he had success as a closer.
Of the candidates on hand, Tommy Hunter is the most logical choice. He throws hard, but he hasn’t developed into a three days in a row type closer.
Darren O’Day saved two games in 2013, but he doesn’t throw hard enough to be considered a conventional closer.
The Orioles want to see Kevin Gausman start not relieve. Brian Matusz and Troy Patton are lefties.
There’s no obvious candidate from the minors, though Johnson wasn’t an obvious choice at the time.
So, it’s an outside choice TBD, Hunter—or perhaps a converted starter.
Some have suggested Bud Norris, who did relieve twice for the team. The team had an issue with his inability to hold runners on, and that will have to tighten up. He did strike out more than a batter per inning, but was a little wilder than the team would like.
The Orioles will sign at least one candidate to close, perhaps two, in the coming weeks.