Deciphering interest in Street (and Chong Tae-Hyon)

The Orioles reportedly have talked to the Rockies about acquiring closer Huston Street, which leads to two not-so-bold assumptions:

They’re still considering the possibility of moving Jim Johnson into the rotation, and they’d prefer using Kevin Gregg in more of a set-up role.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote about the Orioles’ interest in Street, who was 1-4 with a 3.86 ERA, nine walks, 55 strikeouts and a 1.217 WHIP in 58 1/3 innings. That’s the highest ERA and WHIP of his career.

Street, the American League’s Rookie of the Year with the Athletics in 2005, converted 29 of 33 save chances. He’s also due to make $7.5 million next season, and his contract includes a $9 million mutual option for 2013.

The two sides figure to talk again at the Winter Meetings in Dallas.

You’d have to assume that the Orioles would want the Rockies to take on some of Street’s contract. That’s a lot of cash for a closer, especially when they still owe Gregg $5.8 million next season and hold a $6 million option for 2013.

Manager Buck Showalter never got the chance to slip Johnson into the rotation in September, but he insisted that the conversion could be made in spring training. And Johnson clearly wants the chance to start.

I still like him in the closer’s role, but if he can bring some stability to the rotation and not force Showalter to depend on struggling young prospects, journeymen and 4A types, that sounds like the way to go.

Meanwhile, I posted an entry last week about backup catchers that the Orioles have avoided while the team continues its search. You can add Josh Bard to that list.

As of today, there’s been no interest expressed in Bard. But I’ll stress again that things can change quickly, especially once the Winter Meetings begin Dec. 5.

Also, newly acquired infielder Matt Antonelli will be added to the 40-man roster today once he passes his physical.

Another reminder that, while the 40-man will be full, the Orioles can eliminate players to create more room on it.

In other news, multiple reports link the Orioles to Korean right-hander Chon Tae-Hyon, 33, who is a free agent and wouldn’t have to be posted.

You can read more about him right here.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette was serious about his commitment to increasing the Orioles’ presence in the international market, and they’ve targeted Tae-Hyon as a potential piece of their 2012 bullpen.

And finally, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander was named the AL’s Most Valuable Player. Jacoby Ellsbury finished second, followed by Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera.

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