“Bizarre” circumstances lead O’s to sign closer Grant Balfour to two-year deal.
First, the Baltimore Orioles shipped closer Jim Johnson to the Oakland Athletics. The prevailing thought was the O’s did not wish to spend the estimated $10MM for Johnson’s services for the upcoming season. Then, the O’s front office went about the business of replacing Johnson.
And who do they get but A’s former closer Grant Balfour. The deal is for two years and worth a total of $15MM. In both seasons, $500k of Balfour’s salary will be deferred as reported by Jane Lee of MLB.com.
Balfour will now join his sixth organization. The native of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia began his MLB career with the Minnesota Twins. He made his major league debut in 2001. After the 2005 season, Balfour was granted his free agency. He didn’t make a single appearance that season as he recovering from injury.
In January of 2006, he inked a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds, but never appeared in a MLB game that season and was waived later that year. In October, the Milwaukee Brewers claimed him, and Balfour would appear in just three games as a Brewer in 2007. He was dealt to the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Balfour would remain in the Tampa organization until the end of the 2010 season.
Free agency called once again. This time when the phone rang, it was A’s GM Billy Beane. In his three seasons in Oakland, Balfour would serve as the team’s primary closer over his last two years there. Over that time, he’s converted 62 of 67 save opportunities.
Now to Baltimore.
What’s not so strange about this full circle of transactions is what was noted by San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Twitter.
#Athletics prefer younger ages of Kazmir/Johhnson to Colon/Balfour, shorter commitment w/ Johnson.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 17, 2013
Take the fact the Orioles did not want the Johnson price tag of about $10MM and add in Slusser’s tweet, and it all makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
Now, Baltimore will be able to experience Balfour Rage! But are they ready? Here’s a primer.
Thank goodness for the bleeps…I guess.
UPDATE: Apparently, there is concern over Balfour’s physical and the deal is currently in limbo. Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun states there is an issue with Balfour’s right shoulder, per his sources. Connolly also notes that this is not the first time the O’s have dealt with issues arising during a potential player’s physical.