Showalter on the closer situation

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirmed today that the club hasn't extended a formal offer to free-agent closer Grant Balfour.

It's expected to come later today. The Orioles have discussed parameters with Balfour's agent and are regarded as the favorites to sign the veteran reliever, according to multiple sources. As always, it comes down to dollars and years.

The Orioles also have varying levels of interest in John Axford, Chris Perez, Fernando Rodney and Joaquin Benoit. They also are studying the medical records of former Red Sox relievers Joel Hanrahan, who underwent ligament reconstructive surgery on his right elbow on May 16, and Andrew Bailey, who didn't pitch after July 12 because of labrum and capsule damage in his shoulder.

"We're closer than the day we got here, but I'm looking at the 37 we've got on the roster right now and trying to figure out from within," Showalter said. "I had input, certainly. We talk about players. We've talk about everybody, the same ones you all are talking about. I will say we're not closer on one than we are on the other.

"I don't think there's any offers been made that I've been privy to, but Dan (Duquette) doesn't have to tell me everything. I'm just being frank with you."

Showalter said talks with Balfour's agent are "no further along than anyone else."

"That would be erroneous," he added.

Tommy Hunter is the leading in-house candidate to close, Showalter said.

Also, Showalter discounted reports that the Orioles are interested in veteran outfielder Raul Ibanez. However, they still have interest in Severna Park native Gavin Floyd - an annual theme of the Winter Meetings - and have talked to his agent.

Floyd underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow on May 7.

The Orioles are in on the Marlins' Logan Morrison and have targeted five or six outfielders.

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