The Orioles 2-year, $15 million deal with Grant Balfour fell apart, leaving the Orioles' ninth inning still unsettled after they traded Jim Johnson to the Athletics for infielder Jemile Weeks earlier this winter. As a result, the club has turned its attention to free agent Fernando Rodney. Baltimore has seen Rodney's recent AL East success first hand. That experience could be one of the major reasons for their interest in him.
The 36-year-old righty posted one of the best seasons by a reliever in MLB history in 2012 when he closed 48 games for the Rays, and finished the year with an unreal 0.60 ERA. He followed that performance with 37 saves in 2013, finishing with a less staggering, but still respectable 3.38 ERA. In his otherworldly 2012, Rodney walked just under 2 batters per nine innings, but last season, his walk rate regressed to 4.86 -- just a shade higher than his career average of 4.47.
Even if Rodney doesn't dominate as he did in 2012, he could still provide a club with a favorable option for the ninth inning. His market has "unquestionably" intensified due to Baltimore's decision to pass on Balfour.