Monday morning musings

Has former Orioles reliever Francisco Rodriguez been linked to any teams looking for a closer this winter?

He's still a free agent, and he's largely gone ignored.

The Orioles don't appear to have any interest in bringing him back despite giving up minor league infielder Nick Delmonico in a July 23 trade. His name was floated in the warehouse, but it must have gone right out the window.

Rodriguez posted a 1.09 ERA in 25 games with the Brewers, and a 4.50 ERA in 23 games with the Orioles. He surrendered two home runs in 24 2/3 innings with the Brewers and five in 22 innings with the Orioles.

It seems like Rodriguez has been around a long time, but he only turns 32 next month.

Anyway, the Orioles seem content to sever ties with him. They never gave him a chance to close this season and they apparently won't do it in 2014.

Fernando Rodney or Tommy Hunter. That's how it's unfolding right now.

If the choice is Hunter, the Orioles may need to sign another set-up man, which brings me back to K-Rod. He'd offer insurance if Hunter struggles.

Or the Orioles could simply give the job to someone like Josh Stinson, who's out of options, or Steve Johnson, who's always been a big strikeout guy. Brad Brach and Edgmer Escalona also are on the 40-man roster. There are lots of in-house candidates.

Rodriguez would have to do something about those crazy splits from 2013. Right-handers hit .342 against him, left-handers .156.

I'm surprised by how many fans here are down on Rodney only because of his theatrics after recording a save. The imaginary arrow won't fly in Baltimore for a lot of people.

His hat is crooked, too. The double whammy.

As far as I'm concerned, he could slip on a grass skirt and do the hula if he's notching 62 saves in 67 chances, as Grant Balfour did over the past two seasons.

It's been suggested by readers of this blog that the Orioles need to stop wasting so much energy, and making so many enemies, pursing a closer. While I was thrilled with the Balfour agreement, it's true that a top-of-the-rotation starter or an impact hitter - whether it's left field or DH - would be the bigger move.

I've covered enough failed closers in Baltimore to know that the job isn't for everyone, especially on the road in the American League East. Finding a good one isn't like locating a Starbucks. They're not everywhere. But give me Bronson Arroyo or A.J. Burnett for the rotation - again, I'm focusing on guys who won't require a four- or five-year deal to sign, since that's not happening here - and Kendrys Morales for DH, and I'll trust manager Buck Showalter to mix-and-match with his in-house candidates in the ninth inning.

Here's the list of remaining free-agent closers (ages in parentheses), courtesy of MLBTradeRumors.com. It's easy to understand why the Orioles are focused only on Rodney:

Andrew Bailey (30)
Grant Balfour (36)
Rafael Betancourt (39)
Kevin Gregg (36)
Joel Hanrahan (32)
Ryan Madson (33)
Chris Perez (28)
Fernando Rodney (37)

Rodriguez is listed among the right-handed relievers, but he's excluded from the group of closers.

I know how much Gregg tempts you, but let him go.

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