Jim Johnson has struggled in the closers role, but then again, he hasn't been as solid this season as last and this could all be simply a down year.
Flat Breezy is with the Dodgers now and flourishing as their LOOGY/occasional closer.
Danys Baez is a free agent and will not be resigned by the Os.
Koji Uehara was a both a starter and closer in Japan so he's an option, but he's been hurt so often it makes one wonder if he might be better as a set-up or middle reliever than a closer.
Kam Mickolio looks like he has closer potential but might need a year or two of major league playing time before jumping into that role.
David Hernandez has been mentioned several times as a closer candidate, and after the year he's had, it might make sense.
So, I ask you, who closes?
The 2010 Orioles will be vastly improved from the 2007-09 Os. With the emergence of Wieters, Jones, Reimold, and Pie on the offensive side and Bergesen, Matusz, Tillman as mainstays in the rotation the future looks bright. However, as we've seen over this 11 game skid, the bullpen has been sorely vexed. They've given up runs at an alarming rate and, as Roch has pointed out several times, most won't make it passed Spring Training; some, not even that far.
Thus, the question becomes, who locks down the closer role next season and beyond?
As mentioned above, the Os have a few options, but none of them have looked like a solid bullpen, let alone anchor. With such a young rotation the important things become defense and bullpen to maintain a lead and not destroy the young kid's belief that they can win. After all, an argument is always made that a starter is only as good as the guys behind him, that is, unless that starter goes 9 strong (unless your Zack Grienke).
What options are looking best? Does McPhail give the ball back to Johnson? Is Uehara the man even after a injury-rittled season? Has Mickolio become a man so early?
My suggestion would be free agency, focusing on Rafael Soriano. As Atlanta's closer bi-sect, Soriano has put together another solid season with an ERA of 3.00, a low homerun rate (0.74), 11.89 K/9, and an 87% save rate. Those are the kinds of numbers a young starer can have confidence in.
If your interested, Tim Dierkes of mlbtraderumors just posted this offseason's closers. It's worth a read if you, as I do, think free agency is the right way to go.