Closing thoughts on closer situation

At least until Saturday morning.

The Orioles have turned their attention to free agent closer Fernando Rodney, reaching out to his agent again today. He’s their No. 1 target now, but not at the money he desires.

At last check, Rodney was searching for a multi-year deal worth $10 million or more per season. Considering that the Orioles didn’t want to pay Jim Johnson $10-$11 million in arbitration, that’s not going to work for them.

As one person told me, a deal could get done if Rodney “comes back down to earth.”

Sort of like that imaginary arrow he shoots.

The Orioles still aren’t in on Chris Perez. Nothing has changed since the last time I broached the subject.

If they end up signing him, they made a sharp U-turn.

The Phillies have talked to the Orioles about Jonathan Papelbon, who’s entering the third year of a four-year, $50 million deal, but Philadelphia would need to eat a large chunk of that contract and not ask for much in return. Don’t see it happening.

At this point, it appears that the 2014 closer will be Rodney or a reliever who’s already on the roster. Tommy Hunter seems to be the leading candidate, though Darren O’Day would get consideration.

Again, it could be an entirely different story in a few days. Look what happened with Grant Balfour, who called executive vice president Dan Duquette tonight, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.

Here’s the latest series of tweets:

1. Grant Balfour called me back to say he called Dan Duquette to tell him the #Orioles were making a mistake

2. Balfour told me he told Duquette that he deserves to be treated w/ respect and he was not & #Orioles just lost their best chance at winning

3. Balfour told me he had been looking forward to helping the #Orioles get to the World Series for the first time in 30 years.

4. Balfour pointed out to Duquette that two respected doctors said that he is completely healthy. #Orioles have yet to explain what happened

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like he’s upset.

Can we please stop with the theory that ownership didn’t want to give Balfour $15 million and ordered the doctors who examined him to reject the results of his physical.

Duquette had the go-ahead to sign Balfour to the exact deal agreed upon by both sides. That’s why the right-hander flew to Baltimore for the physical. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have reached that stage.

The Orioles are following the recommendations of three physicians, including one who isn’t affiliated with them. They would be more comfortable signing him to a one-year deal with an option. It’s the second guaranteed year that became an issue and eventually killed the agreement.

Balfour may get the last laugh - and judging by Slusser’s tweets, he could use one - and dominate over the next two seasons. The way this whole thing plays out is going to be fascinating.

I fully expect him to sign with the Rays. Would anyone be surprised, especially after the way Dr. Koko Eaton sounded off today?

If the Orioles go in-house, here’s hoping that the money saved on Balfour goes toward a starter or designated hitter. The resources need more reallocating.

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