At one point within the last couple of weeks, a Grant Balfour signing by the Baltimore Orioles looked like as sure a thing as you could get in free agency. In need of a closer, Balfour looked to be a strong fit for the O’s. There was just the matter of the option that Balfour wanted, which the Orioles were unwilling to provide.
As the two sides had apparently drawn closer, it now looks like they could be drawing farther apart. This has very little to do with the contract negotiations themselves, but the current health status of Balfour. The two sides had been reportedly nearing an agreement, but things have begun to breakdown a bit, after Balfour showed signs of some health issues during the physical.
The deal between the two sides was reported to be two years and $15 million, right in the ballpark of something that would make a ton of sense for the Orioles. While the deal isn’t completely dead at this point, it would appear that it is on hold for the time being, until whatever physical issues are plaguing Balfour can be cleared up.
It remains to be seen what is physically wrong with Grant Balfour, but with the Orioles cancelling their press conference to announce the signing, it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out at this point between the two sides. This has looked to be a match since the beginning, and one would imagine that they’ll still try and hammer out a deal.
What is likely to take place, if the concerns over Balfour’s health are something that could linger, is a potential Mike Napoli situation. Napoli took a lesser deal after initially agreeing to a three-year pact with the Boston Red Sox during the last offseason. Health woes led to him taking a one-year deal, before cashing in with another couple of years in Boston this winter. Stay tuned.