The A's have signed Grant Balfour to a two-year deal, the team announced. The right-hander will earn at least $8.1MM, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The deal includes a club option for 2013, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN. The A's have also agreed not to offer the reliever arbitration, meaning that a club will not have to surrender a compensation pick to sign Balfour. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported that the sides were close and MLB.com's Jane Lee added details on Twitter. ACES represents Balfour.
Balfour posted a 2.28 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 55 1/3 innings for the Rays last year. The 33-year-old has always been a fly ball pitcher and last year was no exception; he posted a 30.6% ground ball rate and a 49.7% fly ball rate.
Since Oakland's first round pick is protected, the Rays will obtain a second round pick from the A's for losing the Type A free agent. Tampa will also add a supplementary first round pick to its growing collection of draft picks. The Rays have 11 of the first 89 picks in next year's draft, including nine before the start of the second round.
If Balfour and Carl Pavano finalize deals with the A's and Twins, as expected, all Type A free agents tied to draft pick compensation will have signed.