Tommy Hunter's chances of closing for the Orioles this season improved dramatically tonight.
Reports have surfaced that Fernando Rodney agreed to terms with the Mariners on a two-year, $14 million contract. The deal, first reported by Jonah Keri of Grantland, includes another $1 million in possible incentives.
The deal is pending the results of his physical. Those things don't always go smoothly.
The Orioles maintained dialogue with Rodney's agent and were deemed as one of the finalists for him. They made contact almost immediately after Grant Balfour's two-year, $14 million deal fell apart in December following his physical. Balfour later signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the division-rival Rays.
The contract offered by the Mariners is more than the Orioles wanted to surrender for Rodney.
Hunter has told manager Buck Showalter that he wants to close this season if he isn't a candidate for the rotation. He's the only true in-house option for the job, since Showalter already has dismissed the possibility of Darren O'Day and Ryan Webb assuming the role on a regular basis.
The plan can change, of course, but that's where it stands right now.
The Orioles continue to monitor Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey, who won't be ready on opening day while recovering from their respective surgeries, but could be options later in the season.
ESPN's Buster Olney reported today that Hanrahan could throw for teams within the next month when he's "closer to 100 percent." The Orioles have checked on his medicals.
Hanrahan underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in May 2013.