Grant Balfour Could File Grievance Against Orioles

7:38pm: The Rays are interested in Balfour, ESPN's Jim Bowden tweets. The Rays are on the lookout for a closer, and as noted below, a doctor for the Rays believes Balfour should have passed his physical, so the pairing of the two makes sense.

5:02pm: Balfour will discuss a grievance with the players' union, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). In a full column, Rosenthal reports that he spoke with two doctors who know Balfour well, both of whom say he is 100 percent fine. Rays team physician Koco Eaton was surprised that the deal wasn't completed. Eaton examined Balfour today and said it should have been "a no-brainer" for the Orioles to complete the contract, adding that Balfour's shoulder MRI today looked identical to the one he saw three years ago.

Rosenthal also spoke with Reds physician Timothy Kremcheck, who performed elbow and shoulder surgery on Balfour in the past. Said Kremcheck: "For a guy in his 30s who has pitched six or seven years since his rotator-cuff repair, his MRI on his shoulder looks remarkably good."

Balfour's agent, Seth Levinson, released a statement on the issue, stating plainly that "The only reasonable conclusion is that Grant is healthy and the Orioles at the last moment changed their minds." Levinson's full statement can be seen on Twitter, via ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

4:13pm: Balfour spoke with Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and told her that he is baffled that the Orioles backed off because he is "100 percent fine." He went on to tell Slusser that his MRIs — including the MRI taken of his right shoulder — look exactly the same as they did three years ago. Slusser quotes Balfour:

"I'm the All-Star pitcher I was last season. My shoulder is fine, everything is fine. I'm ready to come out there in the ninth inning, do what I do."

Balfour told Slusser that he isn't looking to bad-mouth anyone and made no negative comments about the Orioles. Slusser notes that a team stepping away from Balfour due to medical concerns could cost him millions of dollars (All links to Slusser's Twitter).

2:08pm: The Orioles will not sign Grant Balfour, executive vice president Dan Duquette told reporters, including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter link). The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly quotes Duquette (via Twitter) as saying: "We would never say never or close the door, but we're going to turn our attention elsewhere." Duquette said the Orioles could look to sign another free agent, trade for a closer or stay in-house for the closer, but they're not done adding pitching or other pieces (also via Connolly).

The Orioles agreed to terms with Balfour on a two-year, $15MM contract earlier this week, but problems with the physical placed the contract in jeopardy. With him out of the picture, the Orioles have reportedly begun to focus on Fernando Rodney, with whom they should be plenty familiar following two excellent season with the division rival Rays.


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151 Comments on "Grant Balfour Could File Grievance Against Orioles"


Andy Todd
1 year 7 months ago

So what exactly is wrong with him???

Matt Grant
1 year 7 months ago

He rages so hard he hurt his shoulder

D.j. Wilson
1 year 6 months ago

Rage So Hard University…

connfyoozed .
1 year 7 months ago

Concerns about his physical… rumor has it that it is his shoulder, but we may never know officially.

James F
1 year 7 months ago

There was an article yesterday on here about his throwing shoulder that he had surgery on back in 05.

thegoldenone
1 year 7 months ago

They found the broken heart he had from not being an A anymore.

Manny Being Manny
1 year 7 months ago

Probably a blessing in disguise. Orioles have too many holes to use our limited spending money on a guy pitching 60 innings a year

T.J. McFarland's Mustache
1 year 7 months ago

Except now the Orioles are going to spend that money on Fernando Rodney.

Manny Being Manny
1 year 7 months ago

I really don’t understand why the Orioles are so obsessed with getting a closer. Its the most overrated job in sports… why would you pay a guy way more money to pitch the 9th then the 8th or 7th? Runs matter just as much in those innings (or even less in the 9th since you can often give up a run without it meaning anything).

ChrmCtyRnr
1 year 7 months ago

Yup. What you said. Norris could close capably. I’m not in the pro-Hunter camp, though. His splits are ugly and he’s not good on consecutive days.

T.J. McFarland's Mustache
1 year 7 months ago

Have you by any chance ever taken a look at Norris’s splits?

T.J. McFarland's Mustache
1 year 7 months ago

Spoiler alert: They’re even uglier than Hunter’s.

ChrmCtyRnr
1 year 7 months ago

I have. There’s a lot about his splits that are odd, though — for starters, he pitches better home than away for his career (despite those being two hitter-friendly ballparks). At one point, I tracked down his numbers the first time through a lineup, and they were pretty solid; in truth, i’m not sure if I saw his splits in innings 1-3, though. Perhaps they are just as horrendous.

T.J. McFarland's Mustache
1 year 7 months ago

I’m talking righty-lefty splits.

In 2013, opposite-handed players hit a robust .309/.381/.509 against Buddy.

His first time through a lineup splits are decent enough, though, at .247/.321/.372, but it’s hard to say what to trust here–his pitch (count) 1-25 line against is a scary .302/.380/.469

joe shlablotnik
1 year 7 months ago

Its the new oriole way.

connfyoozed .
1 year 7 months ago

+1 just for the joe shlabotnik reference. Great screen name.

Max Chen
1 year 7 months ago

Or why not just keep Jim Johnson and pay him, and not have to worry about signing a free agent? Seems like he was gonna get as much as Rodney would want anyways..

Steve from Bethesda
1 year 7 months ago

Because last year Johnson led all mlb closers with 9 blown saves and 8 losses, even with the mlb’s top ranked defense behind him. Althugh he DID save a lot of games, his poor year was a huge reason why the Orioles (who led the majors in HR’s as well as in defense) did not make it into the playoffs as a wild-card team. But the arbitration system wold have rewarded JJ with a huge raise to about $10.8 million per year for all of those blown saves and losses. When approached by the Orioles about an extension, Johnson and his agent demanded between $45 and $50 million for a four year extension, which hence drove the Orioles to trade him to the A’s. The Phillies now realize how foolish it is to pay a closer that kind of $, so they are now trying to dump Papelbon in a trade and will have to eat a large amount of that foolish contract.

ChrmCtyRnr
1 year 7 months ago

Not sure why this didn’t post the first time, but anyhow … if the O’s were willing to give Balfour $7.5mm/year and Floyd $10mm/year, why not just offer Garza something in the $16mm/year range over 3-4 years. I’m not a huge Garza fan (and I think that he looks better than he is just because he’s the best free agent pitcher on the market), but he’s not tied to draft pick compensation and he is at least a capable 2/3 MLB starter and young enough to be productive through a 3-4 year contract. O’Day could close to begin the season (although I probably like him more in that “fireman” rule in which Buck has used him), with Webb, Norris, Hunter, and Matusz working situationally in the 7/8th. Ultimately, I’d like to see Norris in a high-leverage role because he has two excellent pitches and some other decent ones, but that might be too big of a leap for Buck (who tends to be pretty conservative with these kinds of things).

T.J. McFarland's Mustache
1 year 7 months ago

1. I’m pretty certain that $16M AAV over 3/4 years wouldn’t ink Garza, especially given how the FA starting pitching market has fleshed out this offseason.

2. Angelos has been very outspoken against signing FA pitchers to more than a 2-year contract–which pretty much rules them out on any big FA starting pitcher ever again. FYI, The last FA starting pitcher the Orioles signed to more than a 2-year contract was Sidney Ponson in 2004 (3yr/$22.5M). You think Angelos is ready to re-think his policy after that disaster?

3. Norris’s splits would make him a scary option as a closer. (They should make him a scary option as a starter, too–but that’s a different story).

ChrmCtyRnr
1 year 7 months ago

Probably fair, all around. I don’t like Garza for the 5/$100 that he’s on record as wanting, but I’m not sure anybody does. It seems as though Garza is waiting to see what happens with Tanaka. Anyhow, what Garza is asking is absurd money for a guy who — objectively — is a 2/3 starter sporting a 3.88FIP/3.72xFIP and 2.2fWAR last year. 2011 is the outlier with Garza. I buy the contract thing, though. Perhaps they’ll be able to convince Burnett on a one-year deal.

Not sold on your Norris conclusions, I think there are too many variables — for example, Norris predictably has better numbers the first time through the order and with the uptick in velocity he likely would get from working in relief makes him more attractive as a reliever than as a starter. We have data on Hunter as a reliever, we don’t have a meaningful sample size on Norris as a reliever, including splits. I’d like to see how effective he can be working in relief, because it seems we agree that he isn’t a great option in the rotation.

T.J. McFarland's Mustache
1 year 7 months ago

He’s an awful option in the rotation–objectively. With his projected ~$8M salary in 2014, though, the only tenable option is to cross your fingers with him in the rotation.

If it were possible to decide the situation independent of what Norris is going to earn, then I agree that he would be best used in high-leverage bullpen innings (not as a CLOSER–but truly the highest-leverage of situations, regardless of which inning that may be). However, because of his similar problems against opposite-handed batters as Hunter and (at least in 2013) O’Day, he is redundant in the Orioles bullpen. Maybe his splits subside working in relief, but probably not. The bullpen isn’t somewhere that L/R splits go away–it’s somewhere that you can hide them from the other team with match-ups.

Nick Costanza
1 year 7 months ago

The Orioles really lucked out here.

connfyoozed .
1 year 7 months ago

Maybe… but the Red Sox and Mike Napoli might disagree with you.

Chase Johnston
1 year 7 months ago

They lucked out because they got out of a bad contract, not because he’s not healthy. It’s insane to pay the most over rated position in baseball an exorbitant amount of money for 60 innings. The “closer mentality” is hilarious, look how many 8th inning guys stepped up in the past 2 years. Like, half the leagues best closers were 8th inning guys in the last few years.

connfyoozed .
1 year 7 months ago

I don’t disagree with you at all: in some cases it can be worth it to pay a closer a lot, but not for most of them.. I was just making the case that, if the O’s still wanted Balfour, they might be able to still get him for less money and let him prove himself. However, my post was before it became known that Balfour was planning to file a grievance against the O’s, so scratch that idea.

Patrick
1 year 7 months ago

Get on this White Sox. They are going to surprise everyone next year with a dominant bullpen of Jones, Lindstrom, Downs, Webb, Belisario, Petricka, and Rienzo/Leesman as long relief

Matt Grant
1 year 7 months ago

Oakland trumps that pen!

Patrick
1 year 7 months ago

cant deny that

Matt Talbert
1 year 7 months ago

Atlanta’s pen can beat that as well :D.

Jesus Ortiz
1 year 7 months ago

They do have good pitching, but their offense is horrendous!

EightMileCats
1 year 7 months ago

Pitching was never the WS issue. They’re gonna need a big step up from Garcia. A big debut for the 1b they signed… and some players rebounding from the Dunn/Ramirez camp.

Matt Grant
1 year 7 months ago

Come back to Oakland on an incentive deal. we then can package Johnson and someone for some prospects!

Jason Champion
1 year 7 months ago

This

Andy Todd
1 year 7 months ago

I do think this is a good idea, for some reason my comment and the response were both suspiciously deleted. O.o Is it possible that comments get deleted with too many thumbs down?

I don’t think I said anything particularly offensive?? And I certainly wasn’t being sarcastic. Anyway, Balfour is getting ripped here. He’s a great pitcher, probably the greatest Australian player there is or ever was.

davengmusic
1 year 7 months ago

What, Graeme Lloyd and Craig Shipley don’t do it for you?

connfyoozed .
1 year 7 months ago

Maybe they were outbid by the Rakuten Golden Eagles? 😉

JaysFan1996
1 year 7 months ago

Rays will sign him for 5 millions or something

The_Porcupine
1 year 7 months ago

Disaster!

Bleed_Orange
1 year 7 months ago

It’s the Oriole way! We won’t do anything of consequence and screw up the minor things that we do

Marky Mark
1 year 7 months ago

Would love to see the Mets sign him for some bullpen insurance on a one year deal loaded with incentives.. Worst case his arm falls off and we’re in the same spot we were anyway

connfyoozed .
1 year 7 months ago

I don’t think that there is any question that he will sign with someone at some point. A number of teams, Mets certainly included, could use his help.

Marky Mark
1 year 7 months ago

He’s definitely the type of guy I’d take a risk on.. I could see why the Orioles wouldn’t want to commit two years considering their payroll constraints, but I could see a lot of teams bidding for one year of him

DarthBusey
1 year 7 months ago

Agree. I’d prefer him as closer and Parnell back as setup.

I’m sure Parnell wouldn’t, though.

James F
1 year 7 months ago

Well, my vote still goes to the Yankee’s signing him. Regardless of what they’ve been saying about Robertson. Their bullpen is a mess.

Vivek
1 year 7 months ago

A’s should bring him back on a 1 year, $3 mil deal.

johnrhee
1 year 7 months ago

Mariners should sign him to a 1 or two year contract to help Cano and the team including GM Jack Z. w/ the whole front office to get back into the playoffs as a wild card after a decade of missing out the post season.

OaklandFan22
1 year 7 months ago

Wouldn’t mind him back on the A’s with a 1 year deal.

Thunda Pig
1 year 7 months ago

haha, and people doubted Billy Beane.

Thunda Pig
1 year 7 months ago

Man, a lot of angry orioles fan. They gave up a proven closer in al east. The o’s have a lot of holes(LF(not a lough fan) DH, 2b, SP, and still closer). If they chase Rodney and pay him 10 mill I don’t think the o’s have enough cash to fill there holes. DD is not improving the team and the already better teams are improving. Baltimore got fleeced in that deal and it will hurt them next season.

OhthePossibilities
1 year 7 months ago

I’m an Orioles fan and am not angry.

I think short-sighted Orioles fans might be more an apt description of any “angry” fans.

Thunda Pig
1 year 7 months ago

I meant angry orioles fans disliking my comment because billy beane trade looks very good now and o’s fans thought they fleeced the a’s. Btw I would be angry because DD continues to sign AAAA players instead of really improving the team. The O’s got worse and everyone in the division improved.

OhthePossibilities
1 year 7 months ago

Who thought the O’s fleeced the A’s? It was a fair trade. Duquette got what you could expect for an overpriced closer with low K rates.

Also, this idea that everyone else in the division improved is pretty silly. The Yankees are treading water after losing Cano, Rivera + Granderson and adding McCann, Beltran + Ellsbury. The Rays are still waiting on a deal that won’t come on a Price trade. Red Sox lose Ellsbury and gain that much back? I don’t see it. Jays are not setting the world on fire.

This year’s crop of FA’s is full of mediocrity and mediocrity is getting paid like stars. Just because you make a deal doesn’t make it good, nor does it mean you improved.

Thunda Pig
1 year 7 months ago

Every comment and article I read thought the o’s got the better closer, weeks and Ryan Webb + cash for JJ. I think we have a different perspective on JJ. Yes he is over priced and has a low walk rate but he was essential for Baltimore and their close games. He is a proven closer in al east and Camden yards. As a fly ball pitcher he’ll do even better in oco. The sox are already better and yes lost ellsbury but improved rotation and bullpen. The rays only lost their closer which plays with fire. Improved catcher and every player is entering or in their prime. The jays improved and will have better luck. The Yankees lost Hughes thank god, pettittewho’s just average at this point, grandy who didn’t play. The lose of mo and cano will hurt but the additions any health will overcome that production for sure. That free agency “mediocrity” would definitely improve the o’s holes whether It is overpriced or not. The o’s are suppose to be a contender and in the offseason is time to improve and they are not!

tbslim
1 year 7 months ago

I think you’re looking at the Rays backwards Oh. If Price stays, the Rays are a better team than the one that won 92 games a postseason spot last year. With a certain defensive and potentially offensive upgrade at catcher and the return of all of its first team position players and season ending rotation, the Rays will be a better team.
Now add to that the subtraction of Luke Scott who was well liked but didn’t produce at DH and the addition of Delmon Young or Mark Reynolds as has been rumored.
The subtraction of Roberto Hernandez/Fausto Carmona who came to TB cheap and did what he was paid to do, pitch a bunch of innings. Sadly most of his appearances were losses not all of which were his fault but many were.
The subtraction of Fernando Rodney who blew a ton of saves in 2013 and contributed to the loss of a bunch of games that were in the bag. Great 2012 though. The O’s should give him a $10M contract as someone else suggested.
And won’t it be sadly ironic if the Rays sign Balfour for $5M and he has another year like 2013. Keep thinking nobody in the AL East has gotten any better this offseason. We’ll talk again in September. Cheers.

GrayhawkAZ
1 year 7 months ago

Wait the Rays got worse in the offseason? I actually think the Yankees will actually improve with the transactions in place providing continued health.. I think you are right with the Red Sox but there is only way to go when you are on top..

You sir are very silly..

OhthePossibilities
1 year 7 months ago

When did I say the Rays got worse?

Expos '94 World Champs
1 year 7 months ago

Would the O’s look at Gausman in the closer role? He can throw some serious heat.

Bleed_Orange
1 year 7 months ago

I’m guessing that has been discussed if he does not crack the rotation in spring training

OhthePossibilities
1 year 7 months ago

I don’t think they should. He needs to get on a starting schedule… Whether that’s in Baltimore or Norfolk.

FamousGrouse
1 year 7 months ago

I can hear the err…mound chatter from here.

1 year 7 months ago

Breaking: O’s will not sign any major free-agent.

joe shlablotnik
1 year 7 months ago

No… wise people in B more already know this to be fact

faceforest
1 year 7 months ago

Rays will probably be in contact with him. We have two eighth inning guys, possibly three with Bell. Balfour would be a solid closer for this team. And whoever the odd man out in the splits for the eighth would make a upgrade over Wright, who the Rays are looking to resign. Plus you throw in he has play off experience with the team, knows the staff. Good chance the Rays are in talks with him again. I’d love to see him back in a Tampa Bay uniform.

johnrhee
1 year 7 months ago

Mariners will also be interested in Balfour and also trade Tom Wilhelmsen, James Paxton or Taijuan Walker, Justin Smoak, John Hicks, and a player to be named either to the Rays for David Price or to the Orioles for Markakis and a player to be named.

FS54
1 year 7 months ago

Nationals should sign him.

Bestlakersfan
1 year 7 months ago

I’d LOVE for the Dodgers to sign him. Great replacement and upgrade from Belisario. Do it Ned!

1 year 7 months ago

This seems kind of suspicious.

not_brooks
1 year 7 months ago

The O’s physical is more in depth than any other team in the game.

They failed Aaron Sele 10 years ago after agreeing to a 2-year deal, and he went on to throw 65 starts over the next two years with Seattle.

Karkat
1 year 7 months ago

So by “in depth” we mean they have a history of fictionalizing problems?

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 7 months ago

Yeah and it really helped with Wada let me tell you!

Steve from Bethesda
1 year 7 months ago

It was actually a four year, $29 million agreement with the Orioles pending the physical. Once the Orioles discovered some concernng arm issues, they voided the deal. He went on to pitch well for the next two years for Seattle, but pitched badly for the 3rd and 4th years becasue of his arm.

Baloo
1 year 7 months ago

Which makes you wonder if the O’s didn’t originally see something in his MRIs. He was injured those last two years. People like to forget about that.

Karkat
1 year 7 months ago

The Dan Duquette Experience

johnrhee
1 year 7 months ago

Have a feeling Jack Zduriencik will survive in Seattle longer than Duquette in Baltimore if Balfour signs w/ the Mariners.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 7 months ago

It’s a disgrace is what it is!