A’s Sign Grant Balfour

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. 

MLBTR's Luke Adams predicted that Balfour would sign a two-year deal in the $10MM range and mentioned the A's as a possible fit when examining potential suitors.


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72 Comments on "A’s Sign Grant Balfour"


MB923
4 years 6 months ago

Hell of a lot less than 3 year/$35 million. Now I know Soriano > Balfour (not by a whole lot though) but heck $4 mil a year for a reliever and $12 mil a year for a reliever is a huge difference.

4 years 6 months ago

ah the value of marginal analysis, something 90% of the commenters on this site have never learned

MrSativa
4 years 6 months ago

Thou shall not let oneself be marginalized…………

4 years 6 months ago

Parque?

(Probably that’s only a reference for old guys.)

MetsEventually
4 years 6 months ago

Wow, Rays have so many picks now.

4 years 6 months ago

No kidding! “The Rays have 11 of the first 89 picks in next year’s draft, including nine before the start of the second round.”

And that, my friends, is how they are going to stay on top.

vtadave
4 years 6 months ago

We’ll see if ownership steps up and forks over the necessary money to sign all these guys or if they overdraft guys simply because they will come cheap (a la Jeremy Brown and the A’s). Given the relatively drastic payroll decrease this year, I think it’s a valid question.

not_brooks
4 years 6 months ago

Good luck with that, fella.

Let me be the first to break it to you that you don’t find a Carl Crawford or an Evan Longoria every year.

The Rays could manage to hold it together with their stockpile of prospects and draft picks, but remember that prospects and draft picks don’t mean a thing until they prove it in the bigs.

And only what, 20% of minor leaguers make it to the majors anyway, right? So, realistically, you can’t expect more than two or three of the Rays eleven 2011 picks to make a big league impact.

4 years 6 months ago

NO ONE thinks all or even most of those draft picks will work out. But the sheer volume of them, combined with the Rays’ successful scouting should give them plenty of chances to find some gems.

Even if, as you suggest, it will only be two or three of those 11 to make an impact, that’s a much brighter future for their draft class than those teams drafting one or no guys before the second round.

So yeah: I agree with you entirely. But it enhances, rather than disproves my point: the Rays go out of their way to stockpile draft picks and young players. You don’t have to win every time you roll the dice to come out ahead if you arrange to have ten times as many chances as your peers.

“Let me be the first to break it to you that you don’t find a Carl Crawford or an Evan Longoria every year.” No kidding? Wow. Gee whiz, thanks mister… Crikey, give people around here some credit for knowing the obvious.

not_brooks
4 years 6 months ago

Struck a nerve, huh?

Look, all I’m saying is that Rays fans shouldn’t get their hopes up.

Do they have a better chance of drafting top talent than every other team? Of course. Does that make a difference? Maybe, maybe not.

The Rays recent stretch of winning was built on pitching, Crawford, Longoria and Carlos Peña. The pitching is still there and so is Longoria, but Crawford and Peña are gone.

Where would the Rays have been without Crawford and Peña from ’08 to ’10? What are they going to look like without those two next year? Will they be able to find players like that in the upcoming draft? The answer to all of those questions is “Who knows?”.

And that’s my whole point. The draft is 100% crapshoot. As a fan, going into it with an air of “my team could win for years with all of these draft picks!” is setting yourself up for disappointment. At number five, you could end up with the next Ryan Braun or the next Mark Rogers (who?). Later in the draft, you could end up with Nick Swisher (16 in 2002) or Matt Cain (25 in 2002) or you could end up with David Purcey (16 in 2004) or Steven Waldrop (25 in 2004).

pastlives
4 years 6 months ago

did you even read his response ro did you just have “struck a nerve?” prepared for the first response? sourbob’s reply is very calm, rational and true.

4 years 6 months ago

Thanks for having my back. I don’t see what’s so hard to understand. In 2011, a single team will be drafting somewhere around 10-12% of the 100 or so best-regarded players in a very strong draft class. That is INSANE and awesome.

$1519287
4 years 6 months ago

Common sense is not that common, nowadays.

– ECB

MB923
4 years 6 months ago

That is, indeed, INSANE

4 years 6 months ago

You seem to be under the impression that you’re talking to a Rays fan who doesn’t understand either the draft or the realities of prospect attrition. Far from it. I’m a non-Rays fan who admires the manner in which the Rays use the draft to their advantage.

YES, most prospects do not work out. YES, the draft is a crapshoot. YES, talents come out of all rounds. YES, YES. You should consider it a given that readers of this site know this.

However, I find it admirable that the Rays, whose budget makes them dependent on homegrown, rather than imported talent, go out of their way to make sure they get to draft more talent from the earlier, better-regarded players in the early rounds. I find this a good strategy not because I don’t know about prospect attrition, but because I *do.* The typically low odds of prospect success played out against larger numbers of players, chosen from earlier, more talent-rich rounds in the draft end up presenting a team with a greater probability of coming up with good players.

No, there are no guarantees. But there are odds, and the Rays are doing their best to stack the odds in their favor. And that is commendable and bodes well for their future.

The reason I did not address these aspects of my point originally was not that I did not understand them, but simply that I thought *EVERYONE* understood them and hence, they did not merit discussion.

Pete
4 years 6 months ago

Right but 10 out of every 10 pundits and analysts say this draft is the most stacked and strongest draft in history. There’s so many future everyday players in it its crazy. That 20% is not going to apply for the 2011 draft.

TwinsVet
4 years 6 months ago

In one of the best draft classes of the past decade, no less.

djskilbr
4 years 6 months ago

Yep. The Rays will probably take a step back this year, of course. But they’ll reload quickly. And I do think they’ll spend money on this draft.

Small point; I think that pick projection is wrong. I think they actually have 12, and 10 before the 2nd rd.

Their own two picks in the first 2 rounds.
Type A’s:
Crawford (2 picks)
Soriano (2 picks)
Balfour (2 picks)
Type B’s:
Brad Hawpe
Joaquin Benoit
Randy Choate
Chad Qualls

That’s 12.

djskilbr
4 years 6 months ago

10 of which will be in the top 60.

slider32
4 years 6 months ago

Looking back at the past drafts I see that only 18 stars came from the first round and 14 of the 18 were in the top 7 picks. The players were Zimmerman, Brawn, Tulo, Upton, Verlander,Grienke,Fielder,Gonzalez,Mauer, Texeira,Longoria, Price, Beckett, and Hamilton. They all went to lower level teams. So unless your picking in the first 7 mit really doesn’t matter if your picking in the 1st round or the second to me. Plus if you picking in the second round you don’t have to pay as much.

TwinsVet
4 years 6 months ago

I’d double check the arbitration offers. I’m not sure myself but at first glance that list seems long…

djskilbr
4 years 6 months ago

no, those are all right. i’ve checked.

maybe they’re just not counting qualls because his deal with san diego isn’t official yet?

slider32
4 years 6 months ago

How many top picks become stars, not too many. The Rays with all their picks to this point have only picked up Price and Longoria as stars. Their team will continue to get better, but until they decide to start keeping players and pick up free agents they won’t reach the top. They were at that point last year.

slider32
4 years 6 months ago

How many top picks become stars, not too many. The Rays with all their picks to this point have only picked up Price and Longoria as stars. Their team will continue to get better, but until they decide to start keeping players and pick up free agents they won’t reach the top. They were at that point last year.

MrSativa
4 years 6 months ago

well we see if it is.

not_brooks
4 years 6 months ago

Benoit for 3/16, Gregg for 2/10, Downs for 3/15, Crain for 3/13.

With all of those in mind, Balfour for 2/8 looks like a steal.

Losing a draft pick sort of bothers me, but the A’s have drafted well enough over the past decade that I’m not really worried about it.

zacharydmanprin
4 years 6 months ago

They have?

zacharydmanprin
4 years 6 months ago

They have?

4 years 6 months ago

What a fair deal, this guy will get enough money for the rest of his life and isn’t being put into an unfair and risky deal for the As

$6101468
4 years 6 months ago

Another one from the gutted TB bullpen. Nice to have all the draft picks so they can rebuild and then be gutted again. Nice pitcher and at a bargain rate considering previous signings.

slider32
4 years 6 months ago

I agree!

Pete
4 years 6 months ago

Bailey/Balfour > Rivera/Soriano?

(jk, it was a joke from another post)

djskilbr
4 years 6 months ago

Only two “compensation” FA’s left before the draft order is completely set:

Type A; Pavano: That deal sounds about done with the Twins
Type B; Felipe Lopez–SOMEONE will sign him.

thegrayrace
4 years 6 months ago

Didn’t Lopez go to the Diamondbacks?

coachofall
4 years 6 months ago

He will sign a minor league deal thus no compensation

nocalraiderfan
4 years 6 months ago

Nice pickup by the A’s to shore up their middle relief. With an outstanding young staff and a solid pen, if the A’s can score runs with any consistency they will be a factor in the AL West this year.

4 years 6 months ago

2011 MLB Draft = 2016 Tampa Bay Rays

slider32
4 years 6 months ago

By 2016 the Rays won’t even be in Tampa!

alxn
4 years 6 months ago

very fair deal for both sides

slider32
4 years 6 months ago

There are only about 20-25 A prospects in all of baseball this year. Only a few of those will become stars.

4 years 6 months ago

not every prospect needs to turn out to be stars. they need to be quality major league baseball players. if you get 1 star and and a bunch of solid players your a good position for prolong sucess like the current rays

slider32
4 years 6 months ago

Winning the world series is success! The Rays missed their window.

djskilbr
4 years 6 months ago

not really.

the window may shut for a year with a stiff draft, but it will be right back fully open starting in 2012.

slider32
4 years 6 months ago

Winning the world series is success! The Rays missed their window.

slider32
4 years 6 months ago

There are only about 20-25 A prospects in all of baseball this year. Only a few of those will become stars.

$1534453
4 years 6 months ago

Nice move by the A’s. They had plenty left to spend after missing out on Beltre, so they may as well use some of it on (arguably) the best reliever still on the market who doesn’t require a $35M commitment.

I wonder who they’ll DFA to make room for him? Figueroa or Mortensen, I’m guessing.

Gumby65
4 years 6 months ago

Surprise surprise, a Type A free agent stipulates on ensuing contract that he not be offered arbitration… Would be surprised if ANY former Type A “beneficiary” doesn’t have this in their following contract.

Pete
4 years 6 months ago

The rules need to change, I agree.

MrSativa
4 years 6 months ago

Meanwhile Balfour in Oakland will thrive – that ball park will suit his style perfectly. Just hope is healthy.

It’s too bad too because he finally got command of his slider – if he is healthy hew’s gonna punch a few batters out. We’re gonna miss him in St.Pete – especially his wife – what a knockout.

4 years 6 months ago

Guess what? The A’s are going to win the AL West.

Chris1G
4 years 6 months ago

Is the AL West even a division anymore? I thought that they decided to just move the AL West to the AAA league

Pete
4 years 6 months ago

The 2010 WS was between an AL West and a NL West team. Your opinion = utterly useless.

4 years 6 months ago

A’s always seem to try for the smart signings with the aim at having chips at the trade deadline.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

Only a fool would count out the Rays. Their pitching and defense are too good to not finish within the top three of the AL East this season.

Pete
4 years 6 months ago

Try maybe one year. In fact if they went out today and signed Manny Ramirez to DH and either Nick Johnson or Russell Branyan for 1B, they’d have enough offense to be a very competitive team in 2011.

MB923
4 years 6 months ago

Except only the Top 2 (at the max) matter. Plus their defense took a huge blow when losing Crawford.

I’m not saying they aren’t a good team, but do not be surprised if they aren’t.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

Desmond Jennings says hello.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

Desmond Jennings says hello.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

And I said in the top three, not necessarily third. The off season isn’t over.

4 years 6 months ago

I’m inclined to agree, but then I wouldn’t want to disparage the serious Rays fans who frequent this site, of whom TB could use some more. Plus, there’s the crapulent park factor.

MB923
4 years 6 months ago

Can we let him play a full season before we compare him to a guy who is a 4 time all star who should have won multiple gold glove awards? Thanks.

MB923
4 years 6 months ago

Just making it clear that finishing in 3rd is no different than finishing in last place, in regards to who makes the playoffs and all. Although perhaps this changes in the new playoff format which could happen as early as next year.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

Well, based on his minor league numbers and athletic build, I think he’ll be a more than adequate replacement for Crawford, at least defensively.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

Well, based on his minor league numbers and athletic build, I think he’ll be a more than adequate replacement for Crawford, at least defensively.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

I was thinking of a possible R. Branyan/T. Glaus/D. Johnson merry go round at DH/1B. Glaus and Branyan could probably be had for less than just Manny.

4 years 6 months ago

i always liked johnson, especially on the marlins, but he can’t stay healthy. my god he can get on base though.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

Really??? Gee, thanks for clearing that up for me.

MB923
4 years 6 months ago

And thanks for clearing up to me that Desmond Jennings is already like Carl Crawford defensively because he has good Minor league numbers.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

No, I never said Jennings would be as good as Crawford defensively. I said he would be a more than adequate replacement for him defensively. The topic started with you saying the Rays defense would take a “huge blow”, by losing Crawford. I disagree.

MrSativa
4 years 6 months ago

You’ll see Jennings is by far a better fielder than Crawford. He’s faster to the gap and does not get shy of the wall like CC was. With that being said if his bat can keep him in the majors defensively we’ll all be surprised. Now health is an issue for everybody.

MB923
4 years 6 months ago

Completely fair. I still would not be surprised to see the Rays fall as low as 4th place. I’ll still predict them to finish 3rd with about 85 wins. Crazy things happen though, so guess it ends with a “Let’s wait and see”.

KenJr1918
4 years 6 months ago

Agreed. The division can be crazy, and The Rays could finish anywhere from 2nd to 5th, depending on a lot of factors. I just think that anyone the writes off the Rays for this year might be surprised by the end of the season.