After nixing a reported two-year, $15 million deal with Grant Balfour due to concerns raised in a physical exam, the Orioles are moving quickly to secure an alternative for the closer role.
Confirming reports from yesterday, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish hears that the Orioles are “being aggressive” in their pursuit to land free agent closer Fernando Rodney. It’s unclear whether Baltimore would be able to secure him at a similar price as Balfour’s proposed deal, but he appears to be their first choice among the fallback options. Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reported last night that the Orioles and Phillies discussed a possible Jonathan Papelbon trade, but there’s nothing to suggest that talks made it very far.
Rodney wasn’t nearly as effective this past season as he was in his historic 2012 campaign, but he still posted a 3.38 ERA and 82 strikeouts over 66 2/3 innings and saved 37 games.
Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove is done for the year after suffering an abdominal wall muscle strain and stress reaction in his pelvic bone. While he isn’t expected to undergo surgery or miss additional time in 2019, he’s been prescribed six weeks of rest before resuming any baseball-related activities.
Musgrove, 25, finished out his third year in Pittsburgh with a 6-9 record in 19 starts, backed by a 4.06 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.8 SO/9. Despite logging a career-high 115 1/3 innings at the major league level, he’s also been dogged by a string of injuries, from the shoulder strain that robbed him of eight weeks at the start of the season to an index finger infection that kept him sidelined for a minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list in June.
While he works his way back up to full strength yet again, rookie right-hander Nick Kingham is expected to cover for him and will make a spot start during the Pirates’ series finale against the Brewers on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty hasn’t started a single game for the team since August 1, and currently carries a 4.69 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 over 71 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.