If Orioles don’t bring in new closer, Tommy Hunter the “clear favorite” to take over for Jim Johnson

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The Orioles’ closer situation is well-publicized at this point, considering their signing-then-unsigning of Grant Balfour was in the headlines for a while, and we also learned they have talked with the Phillies about Jonathan Papelbon and have shifted their focus to free agent Fernando Rodney as well. MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that, if the Orioles aren’t able to grab a new closer from outside the organization, Tommy Hunter would be the “clear favorite” to take over the closer’s role.

Hunter has been used as a starter for the vast majority of his career, starting 75 of 98 games in which he had appeared entering the 2013 season. However, in 2013, the Orioles used him as a full-time reliever with good results. Hunter posted a 2.81 ERA in 68 relief outings spanning 86.1 innings of work, striking out 68 and unintentionally walking 13.

Report: Brewers sign Yovani Gallardo to a major league deal

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Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.

Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.

Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.

Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.