With George Sherrill coming off a breakout season and Chris Ray coming back from Tommy John surgery, you'd think that there would be no question which of the Orioles' two short relievers would be the primary closer in 2009. And you would probably be right, but manager Dave Trembley is keeping his options open.
"I don't think there will be competition,'' Trembley said during yesterday's news conference. "I think I'm going to be afforded the luxury of having two guys that have done it. You know, Sherrill is the guy who's probably got a leg up on that role simply because he did it all last year and Chris missed the year. You know, with George doing it for the first time last year and then for a month there missing some time because he got a little tired, I don't think it's inconceivable that we could somehow share that role."
There also might be a decision to make behind the plate. The apparent effort to trade Ramon Hernandez could mean the early arrival of top prospect Matt Wieters, a problem Trembley doesn't seem to concerned about.
"Well, I'm looking forward to seeing Wieters,'' he said. "I think everybody is. I think Wieters is probably (ready), like I said about [Adam] Jones last year when we got Jones. You know, I've been playing with guys in the minor leagues for a long time, and those guys don't come around very often, and when they do, you'd better make sure they get better, and that's how I feel about Wieters. He's got a chance to be very good, and if you're a coach or a manager or instructor, your job is to make sure they get better."