MLB roundup: Orioles, Jonathan Papelbon, Mark Kotsay, more

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles may fill holes internally, the Phillies are willing to pay money to move Papelbon, and the Padres have some good and bad news.

Orioles likely to look internally to fill openings

With holes at both second base and closer, the Baltimore Orioles are likely to look for solutions internally, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports.

Kubatko says Tommy Hunter is the "clear favorite" to win the closer role. After years of struggles as a starter, Hunter moved to the bullpen full-time in 2013 and was one of the best relievers in Baltimore. He pitched in 68 games and posted a 2.81 ERA and 0.99 WHIP while striking out 68 batters.

Darren O'Day is likely to be the other top option to finish games in Baltimore. He has a 2.23 ERA combined over the past two seasons while averaging nearly a strikeout per inning. Whichever of Hunter and O'Day doesn't close will certainly be a top set-up option.

Meanwhile, Ryan Flaherty appears to be the likely starter at second base to open the season. He has been used as a utility player each of the last two seasons, hitting .221/.279/.378 overall. Despite a lackluster bat, he plays good defense. Flaherty would also only be a temporary stop-gap until top prospect Jonathan Schoop is ready for the majors.

Phillies will pay to move Papelbon

The Philadelphia Phillies are willing to assume some of the $26 million still owed to closer Jonathan Papelbon in a potential deal, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Taking on a good portion of the contract is likely the only way the Phillies would be able to move Papelbon. How much they offer to pay may help dictate what kind of return they would receive. However, they would have to eat nearly the entire deal to bring in anything worthwhile from a trade partner.

The Phillies signed Papelbon to a four-year contract worth $50 million prior to the 2012 season. He also has an option for 2016 worth another $13 million that vests if he finishes 55 games in 2015 or 100 between 2014-15. He has finished more than 50 games each of the last seven seasons, and has finished at least 55 games three times since 2008.

Papelbon, 33, posted a 2.92 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP over 61 games in 2013. He has maintained an ERA under 3.00 each of the last three seasons.

Padres hire Kotsay

The San Diego Padres have hired Mark Kotsay as a special assistant to general manager Josh Byrnes, reports Bill Center of U-T San Diego.

Kotsay retired as a player following the 2013 season having played 17 seasons with seven different franchises, including two stints with the Padres. The first came from 2001-03, when he patrolled center field full-time in San Diego. He also finished his career with the Padres, spending the last two seasons as a veteran bench player.

It has been a recent trend for newly retired players to join a front office in a special advisor role. It allows the players to stay involved in the game without needing to be involved 24/7.

Grandal may open season on DL

San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal is likely to open the 2014 season on the disabled list, reports Bill Center of U-T San Diego.

Grandal had ACL surgery in August, but had said previously that he hoped to be ready in time for spring training. While that goal was optimistic, there was a small chance that he could be back in action sometime before April. With such a severe injury, it's more likely that he will need more time.

He played in just 28 games in 2013, having served a 50 game suspension at the beginning of the year and missing the second half due to the ACL injury. He hit .216/.352/.341 when in the lineup and figures to be a long-time starter in San Diego when healthy.

Colabello turns down Korean offer

Minnesota Twins utility player Chris Colabello turned down an offer of around $1 million to play in Korea, reports Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.

The Twins had an agreement in place to ship Colabello off, but any deal made must be ratified by the player. Instead, Colabello says he would like to remain focused on helping the Twins any way he can on the field.

Colabello, 30, reached the majors for the first time in 2013, hitting .194/.287/.344 over 55 games. He has been an outstanding hitter in the minors, however, hitting .352 with a 1.066 OPS and 24 home runs in just 89 games playing for Triple-A last year.

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