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.
Right-hander Michael Fulmer is going on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, the Tigers announced Friday. In a corresponding move, right-hander Victor Alcantara was recalled from Triple-A Toledo.
Fulmer, 25, apparently suffered the injury during a routine bullpen session on Friday. A formal timeline for his recovery has not been announced yet. The righty is 3-9 in 19 starts this year with a 4.50 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 112 innings pitched. This is his first real setback of 2018 and figures to delay any potential trade discussions the Tigers might have been entertaining for Fulmer’s services.
Alcantara, meanwhile, will fill the open roster spot while Fulmer works his way back to the rotation. The 25-year-old righty is expected to help boost a bullpen that currently ranks fourth-worst in the American League with a collective 4.45 ERA and 1.0 fWAR. While Alcantara hasn’t done much at the major-league level so far — he tossed a scoreless three innings in relief during his last call-up — he maintained an impressive 2.81 ERA, 1.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through 51 1/3 innings in Triple-A this year.