Orioles’ Deal With Grant Balfour In Jeopardy

7:53pm: Balfour's issue concerns his right shoulder, Connolly reports (Twitter link).  The righty underwent surgery to correct a torn rotator cuff in that shoulder in 2005, Connolly notes, though Balfour hasn't had any subsequent problems.  "More I hear, more it looks like Balfour deal could collapse," Connolly tweets, adding that the Orioles have traditionally been very cautious of signing players (particularly pitchers) with medical concerns.  

7:18pm: A source tells Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links) that the Balfour deal "may be in jeopardy," though "serious jeopardy" is probably too strong.  The Orioles would look at other closer options on the open market if Balfour's physical issue is a deal-breaker.

THURSDAY, 6:16pm: The Orioles/Balfour deal is "in serious jeopardy" and could fall apart altogether, MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko reports.  Balfour's physical revealed issues that "need to be resolved," according to a source.  More word about this setback could come on Friday.

TUESDAY: The Orioles have agreed to a two-year, $15MM deal with Grant Balfour, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter).  He'll have $500K deferred in each season.  The deal is still pending a physical.

Balfour

Recent reports indicated that three teams had two-year offers on the table to Balfour, with the Orioles being the most aggressive team and the favorite to land him. Balfour reportedly wanted to pitch for the O's, but was holding out for a three-year deal. There was talk of adding a vesting option to the deal as a compromise, but it appears that a two-year pact was enough to get the job done.

Balfour, who celebrates his 36th birthday on December 30th, turned in a 2.59 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 on his way to a first career All-Star selection.  Balfour doesn't have the near-95-mph fastball average that he boasted in his best season with the Rays in 2008, but his 2013 average of 93.4 mph was still solid.  The right-hander hasn't had an ERA higher than 2.59 in his last four seasons.

Some may point to Balfour's significant home/road split over the last three seasons as a big reason for his recent success.  Oakland's O.co Colliseum is one of the game's most pitcher-friendly environments, and Balfour has a 1.58 ERA in 113 2/3 innings there, compared to a more pedestrian 3.78 ERA in 85 2/3 innings on the road.

The Aussie missed two full seasons thanks to Tommy John surgery and shoulder surgery following a promising debut with the Twins in his age 25-26 seasons. He rediscovered himself in Tampa Bay before heading to the A's in 2011. Balfour was handed the ninth inning in his second season with Oakland, and has racked up 62 saves from 2012-13 for the back-to-back AL West champions.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) first reported that the two sides were nearing agreement.  Additional details courtesy of CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter).  Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


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99 Comments on "Orioles’ Deal With Grant Balfour In Jeopardy"


Joshua Menezes
1 year 7 months ago

A’s and O’s trade closers

Chioakcisco
1 year 7 months ago

With Jemile Weeks as essentially the PTBNL.

OhthePossibilities
1 year 7 months ago

What does that makes Frietas, who was the actual PTBNL?

Chioakcisco
1 year 7 months ago

Eli Whiteside, maybe?

Tim
1 year 7 months ago

GB is about $3.8M cheaper per year than JJ

Joe Valenti
1 year 7 months ago

Makes you question the trade from the A’s perspective. I think these two closers are about the same value, but the A’s had to trade Weeks and Frietas, essentially to pay about $3M more this year for the same value

Brandon Mason
1 year 7 months ago

Good signing by The Orioles

Ed
1 year 7 months ago

That’s a great deal for O’s

The_Porcupine
1 year 7 months ago

About time. I like Balfour, but the O’s were right to hold firm on 2 years. He’s still cheaper than Johnson. Now I’d like to see them add 1-2 more arms to the bullpen to really strengthen it further. Of course I’d rather see a legit leadoff hitter and a #2 starter, but they seem to be too expensive for the O’s taste.

PSUOrioles
1 year 7 months ago

The O’s have to be done adding to the bullpen and I think it’s going to be beastly this year… they traded for Brach from SD, signed Webb from MIA and now signed Balfour… I could actually see them trade some of the BP guys, i.e. Matusz or Patton.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 7 months ago

It’s time to get Jimenez!

Jesus Ortiz
1 year 7 months ago

Why would you want him?

JohnnyHamer
1 year 7 months ago

Finally!

drwheelock
1 year 7 months ago

I was hoping Seattle would jump in on this one. I’m sure they were one of the other 2 offers though. Very nice signing for the O’s though!!!

ba9oriole
1 year 7 months ago

The Orioles basically traded Jim Johnson and got Grant Balfour, Jemile Weeks, David Freitas, and $3+ million. Not bad.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 7 months ago

Well the O’s saved a whooping 3 Mil AAV! Not a bad deal pretty much traded Johnson for Balfour and Weeks.

OhthePossibilities
1 year 7 months ago

Balfour, Weeks, and Webb.

OaklandFan22
1 year 7 months ago

pretty solid signing, I thought he was going to cost them more.

letsgogiants
1 year 7 months ago

Honestly at this point, the closer market has died down. Most teams have a closer by now, and the ones who still need one aren’t going to bid against themselves, instead opting to use their money in other areas of improvement.

RIYankeeGuy
1 year 7 months ago

Awful job Yankees! Had your chance to keep D Rob comfortable as an 8th inning/tough jam specialist with a bona-fide closer.

As for the O’s fans, Balfour was a great get at less than 10 AAV. I just wish your front office would have given Brian Roberts a cushy scouting gig so Cashman couldn’t waste time and money on another Hafner/Youk-like zero chance of success injury project.

MB923
1 year 7 months ago

There’s still Veras and Benoit.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 7 months ago

Don’t forget Rodney, his 9th inning walks and ridiculous celebrations can’t be overlooked.

MB923
1 year 7 months ago

Pass. I have no clue how he had the 2012 season that he did. His ERA was 4.24 or worse for 6 consecutive seasons and suddenly he has an ERA of 0.60 in 74 innings? Unless it was PED’s of some kind, I don’t get how he did it.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 7 months ago

I have no clue, TB magic or something… He was awful to watch when he was closing for LAA. .220 BABIP and an 89% LOB rate really helped him out in 2012. He came back to earth in 2013.

GriffeyandSizemore
1 year 7 months ago

That was the one year he could throw strikes. he has a terrific change up he was throwing in any count and fooling everyone. But I agree pass on Rodney. I pass on Veras too I remember him all too well. Balfour is a good signing at 7m but since he’s been an A his road numbers are dramatically different to his home stats. There is a chance that can be a problem in Camden.

Spencer James
1 year 7 months ago

If memory serves me correct, Veras already had a stint in NY from 2006-2009 and was not all that effective. I’d rather take the risk DRob and trade for an 8th inning guy.

MB923
1 year 7 months ago

Yes sir. He started his career with them.

PittsburghPirates0022
1 year 7 months ago

Veras- Cubs
Benoit- Padres

MB923
1 year 7 months ago

Obviously neither had been signed yet when I posted that

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 7 months ago

Cashman wasted a lot of money on Brian Roberts…. for the same price he could have gotten 11 games from A-rod or 14 games from Cano.

RIYankeeGuy
1 year 7 months ago

Which is ironically the range of healthy games for Roberts this season.

Spencer James
1 year 7 months ago

25 games combined for Roberts is too generous. Vegas has the over/under starting at 20.

Collateral96
1 year 7 months ago

Even if it wasn’t Phillips Idk why you would go straight to another Nick Johnson clone who never stays on the field enough.Only 77 games last year not sure how that didn’t scare the yankees off just bizarre to me

johnrhee
1 year 7 months ago

Who you think the Orioles ought to trade to the Seattle Mariners after Balfour’s signing? Dustin Ackley, either Tyler Pike or Anthony Fernandez, Brandon Maurer or Carson Smith, Leon Landry or Julio Morban, and a player to be named going to the Mariners for Steve Clevenger (backup to Zunino) or Nolan Reimold, Bud Norris or Brian Matusz (long/middle relief) would make sense for both teams filling the positions. Let me know which players should be packaged to those teams.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 7 months ago

Please just change your name to 3-team trade generator.

johnrhee
1 year 7 months ago

Okay as I will revised the proposal.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 7 months ago

This is up there with one of the worst trade proposals I have seen on MLBTR… and I have seen some bad ones. The O’s trade a legitimate MLB starting Catcher, an All Star starting pitcher (when they need pitching) and their setup man who has been lights out for the last 2 years For Nick Franklin, Tyler Pike and 2 Players to be named! Com’on man

LordOfTheSwings
1 year 7 months ago

I think this just makes the A’s look a little bad. In my opinion, Balfour for 2 years at 15m is a better deal than J. Johnson for 1 year at ~10.5m. But I guess maybe the A’s really just didn’t want to be tied down for 2 years.

Good signing by the O’s. This deal makes Logan’s deal look even worse.

FS54
1 year 7 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. That just does not seem like an A’s deal.

GriffeyandSizemore
1 year 7 months ago

They feel the switch of stadiums will be a huge difference with Johnson as well. He shouldn’t give up those game blowing home runs at home.

DaBirds
1 year 7 months ago

Johnson didn’t give up Home Runs. It was BB, single and then double. He was good but blew about ten to twelve games for us last year. We probably would of made the playoffs if he was consistent.

omar jimenez
1 year 7 months ago

They can still trade Johnson while developing or getting a closer down the road.

letsgogiants
1 year 7 months ago

I thought so initially too, but looking at Balfour’s home/road splits, age, and struggling 2nd half, I can see why Beane opted for the younger choice in Johnson, even if he is paying him more in AAV. Who also knows whether or not Balfour can keep up his velocity in the next two seasons. If the fastball velocity goes down drastically, then Balfour is going to get painted by AL East opponents.

Ben Childs
1 year 7 months ago

The one thing going for Johnson is that Beane could turn around and trade him tomorrow….and I’m kinda hoping that’s the route we go. $10 mil could be a lot better utilized elsewhere on the roster, especially given the strength of our bullpen.

snowbladerp14
1 year 7 months ago

i guess ill take 4 million and weeks for free but we still arent a better team than last year and that team missed playoffs

gmantacoma
1 year 7 months ago

Good deal for O’s – I was hoping ‘Ball Four’ would come to Seattle

LazerTown
1 year 7 months ago

Meh, wouldn’t really want him outside of that ballpark, but that is a fair price for a proven closer of his history. Boone is getting $5.5M aav over 3 years, and a proven closer gets $7.5M the rockies looking worse and worse.

omar jimenez
1 year 7 months ago

This makes a ton of sense as far ass cost effective and fits a need. I would just be concerned with his perforance away from Oakland collesium. Baltimore needs starting pitching so saving money elsewhere is huge.

MrSativa
1 year 7 months ago

Great sign by the O’s. Now sign Rodney.

Robert
1 year 7 months ago

Balfour is creating distinct records

Bluejays31
1 year 7 months ago

Could get ugly in the AL east…

Scooby-Don't
1 year 7 months ago

The last thing you want to do, as a pitcher, is Grant ball four.