Buying a high-profile closer to replace Johnson, such as free agent Grant Balfour, means that a chunk of the club's savings will be used to address the same role. And that sort of defeats the purpose of the trade. If the Orioles find their 2014 closer on the free-agent market, it likely will come from the lower tiers. John Axford (pictured), the former Milwaukee Brewers closer who spent the last part of 2013 with the St. Louis Cardinals, is an intriguing possibility, but he made $5 million last year and surely won't be looking for a pay cut. Some of the other free-agent relievers who have closed in the past include Fernando Rodney, Joaquin Benoit, Chris Perez, Jose Veras and old friend Kevin Gregg (no, he's not under consideration). Also in play could be two relievers attempting to return from injury, Joel Hanrahan and Ryan Madson. If the Orioles can't land a closer -- or don't find one at the right price -- right-hander Tommy Hunter likely will be the first internal option.
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