With free agent B.J. Ryan expected to leave Baltimore after the season, two possibilities on the roster exist to fill the closer role, though neither is very attractive to Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo.
When asked who would fill Ryan's role next season, Perlozzo did not mention rookie Chris Ray or Jorge Julio, both of whom would seem like logical candidates.
"I would say he's not here," Perlozzo said.
It's been quite a fall for Julio, who before this season had saved 83 games. He has a 5.90 ERA in 65 games this season.
"Jorge has a ways to go to get back into that spot for me," Perlozzo said. "He's got to pitch a lot better than he's pitched. I know he'd like to do that again, but he's going to have to earn it. He's done that before so I can't tell you I'd rule him out, but he's got to earn that."
Julio said that he has been hurt by having an inconsistent role this year. At times he has been brought in as a setup man and other times as a longer reliever. Julio pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings Sunday.
"I know I haven't had a good year, but I know I'm a closer and I can be one either here or somewhere else," Julio said.
"I just need that chance. I don't think they've given me an opportunity to pitch consistently. I need that chance whether it's here or elsewhere."
Perlozzo said he is uncomfortable in giving Ray, 23, the job because of his inexperience, though the rookie has pitched well this season, accumulating a 2.70 ERA in 362/3 innings.
"He's such a valuable kid I'd rather put somebody there I know is ready," Perlozzo said. "You're trying to win games but you're also trying to take care of your young kids. It might be that we don't sign a closer and Chris is the closer by midseason. But it's an awful lot to expect of a youngster."
Ray, for his part, said he isn't worried about that heading into the offseason.
"I'm just trying to make the team next year," Ray said.