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Orioles still interested in John Axford, have met with his representatives this week

The Orioles remain interested in free-agent relief pitcher John Axford as the potential replacement for closer Jim Johnson.

The team met with Axford's representatives at Major League Baseball's winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., this week, according to a source.

Axford, 30, split the 2013 season between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals. He was 7-7 with a 4.02 ERA in 75 games overall. Previously, he was the closer for the Brewers and had 105 saves between 2010 and 2012.

Other reports also have said the Orioles are interested in former Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour and are looking to get a deal done with him.

A deal with Balfour, however, would likely cost between $8 million to $10 million on a multi-year contract, and the Orioles traded Johnson -- who was projected to make more than $10 million in arbitration -- to the Athletics in an effort to cut the cost of a closer.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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