Orioles Rumors: Trade Jim Johnson for Tigers’ Rick Porcello?

While the Baltimore Orioles have said they’re not interested in trading shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for right-hander Rick Porcello, Jon Paul Morosi wonders if the club might be interested in parting ways with closer Jim Johnson in order to acquire the young starting pitcher.

Johnson was beyond solid in 2012, leading the majors in saves while solidifying one of the game’s best bullpens. The 29-year-old owns a career ERA of 3.14, but he’s maintained a mark of 2.59 over the past two seasons.

Detroit is in the market for a veteran to add to the back end of their bullpen, as Morosi doesn’t believe 22-year-old Bruce Rondon is ready to close for a World Series contender.

One reason the Orioles might be more willing to cash in Johnson at this point is the availability of closer candidates remaining on the free agent market. Rafael Soriano signed with the Washington Nationals yesterday, but Brian Wilson, Jose Valverde, Matt Capps, Kyle Farnsworth, Francisco Rodriguez, Matt Lindstrom, Juan Carlos Oviedo, and Brandon Lyon all remain available.

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