Francisco Rodriguez free agency: Orioles reached out to former closer

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

After a brief and rather uneventful stint with the club last season, Francisco Rodriguez could return to the Orioles in 2014.

In the wake of the Grant Balfour debacle, and speculation on their interest in Fernando Rodney, the Baltimore Orioles have reached out to Francisco Rodriguez, according to Dan Connelly of the Baltimore Sun.

K-Rod, who set the single-season saves record with the Angels in 2008, was traded to the Orioles by Milwaukee just before the trade deadline last season for minor leaguer Nick Delmonico. Rodriguez was exceptional for the Brewers in his first 24.2 innings in 2013, earning 10 saves in 25 appearances and posting a 1.09 ERA for the club.

In Baltimore, however, he failed to garner the trust of manager Buck Showalter and was used predominantly in low-leverage situations, leading to speculation that the the 31-year-old reliever would look for employment elsewhere this offseason in search of a more vital role.

The Orioles appeared to have addressed their need for a closer when they signed Grant Balfour to a 2-year, $15 million contract, but that deal fell apart when Baltimore team doctors became concerned with the fitness of Balfour's pitching shoulder. The pitcher contested those claims, and team doctors from the Tampa Bay Rays and Cincinnati Reds have backed Balfour's claims that he is "one hundred percent healthy." That could lead to apprehension for free agent relievers receiving offers from Baltimore.

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