4 closers the Orioles need to trade for after Craig Kimbrel decision

Who's it going to be?
Baltimore Orioles pitcher Craig Kimbrel
Baltimore Orioles pitcher Craig Kimbrel / G Fiume/GettyImages

Craig Kimbrel is no longer the Baltimore Orioles closer — thank goodness. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde called it a day-to-day thing, but the O's fanbase knows that this needs to be a permanent thing.

No lead is safe with Kimbrel on the mound, especially in the ninth inning. The longtime closer has been relegated to a different role within Baltimore's bullpen, as he came on during the seventh inning during Friday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But removing Kimbrel from the closer's role is only one part of the equation. Now the O's front office must begin to vet other potential candidates to take on the ninth inning with a lead. While pitchers like Cionel Perez and Yennier Cano could fill in on a part-time basis, it would seem a trade is on the horizon. Which closers might Orioles GM Mike Elias look to acquire in the coming weeks?

Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley would bolster the Orioles bullpen

The first name that jumps out, if you're an Orioles fan, is St. Louis Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley. The flamethrower is currently at the backend of the Cardinals' bullpen, but St. Louis is in the NL Central basement.

Helsley has converted 12-of-13 saves on the season with 21 punchouts in 19 innings of work. For his career, Helsley has 47 career saves and would certainly allow Hyde to feel more comfortable with a lead going into the ninth inning.

Helsley does not become a free agent until after next season, so the O's would not only be helping their bullpen this season, but into 2025 as well. Helsley should be atop Elias' shopping list as the Orioles search for a new closer.

Orioles could trade for struggling Pirates closer David Bednar

Some Orioles fans will immediately look at David Bednar's stats and question trading for a closer with a 9.00 ERA and three blown saves on the season, After all, the Orioles already have that type of pitcher on the roster in Kimbrel.

But Bednar is much better than those numbers might indicate. An All-Star last season, Bednar led the National League in saves (39) last season and has converted 85% of his saves during his six-year career.

However, with Bednar's struggles this season, could the O's get somewhat of a bargain? The Pirates aren't exactly out of the postseason race, but Pittsburgh is below .500 and in a very competitive division. If the Bucs were looking to sell, perhaps the Orioles should inquire as to whether or not Bednar is available. The right-hander doesn't reach free agency until after the 2026 season.

Nationals closer Kyle Finnegan should be on the Orioles' radar

The Washington Nationals have been making some noise in the National League this season, but Davey Martinez's ball club is still probably a year or two away from competing for a playoff spot — especially in the NL East.

With that in mind, the Nats may be looking to move Kyle Finnegan at or before this year's trade deadline. Finnegan has 12 saves on the season and a 1.65 ERA with a 0.857 WHIP. The right-hander is owed just over $5 million this season and won't become a free agent until after 2025.

Finnegan has a fastball that sits in the upper-90s, and while he issues too many walks, the 32-year-old is still striking out one of every four batters he faces.

Should the Orioles target Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano?

Jordan Romano's numbers aren't great this season, but the Toronto Blue Jays reliever is a perfect 6-for-6 in save chances this season. Couple that with Romano converting 90% of his save opportunities in 2023, and it would seem as though one of the best ways for the O's to upgrade their bullpen lies within the AL East.

And that's where the rub comes in, isn't it? Would the O's really pull off an inter-divisional trade with the Jays? Romano is under team control through next season, but the way Toronto's season is going has many pundits predicting John Schneider will lose his job and several top players will be shipped out before the MLB trade deadline.

If Romano is going to be one of those players, Baltimore needs to see if they're a match. Romano does a great job of not allowing free runners, sporting a walk rate of less than 6%. While most teams hate trading within their own division, this is one of the occasions when the Orioles should make an exception

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