O’s Backed Off Balfour Deal Due To Knee, Wrist Concerns

Though two doctors voiced their confidence that Grant Balfour's shoulder was healthy after the Orioles backed out of their two-year agreement with the Australian closer, ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the O's actually called off the deal due to concerns over Balfour's knee and wrist (Twitter link).

The Orioles and Balfour had agreed to a two-year, $15MM contract in what looked to be a solid move for Baltimore — shedding Jim Johnson's salary and saving $3-4MM to turn the ninth inning over to Balfour. However, Baltimore backed off due to medical concerns, infuriating Balfour and his representatives at ACES. At the time, Balfour was said to be considering filing a grievance against the Orioles.

Since his deal with the Orioles fell through, Balfour has been connected to the Yankees, Rays and Giants, among other teams. He added in a radio appearance that he had at least one offer on the table. At this point, a healthy Balfour would be in the running for best reliever on the market, alongside Fernando Rodney. However, if there are medical concerns surrounding his knee and wrist that have flown under the radar to this point, he may have a difficult time matching that two-year, $15MM offer.


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40 Comments on "O’s Backed Off Balfour Deal Due To Knee, Wrist Concerns"


brian310
1 year 6 months ago

Where is this guy going to sign?

Tom
1 year 6 months ago

Those doctors who (quite publicly) voiced their disbelief in the O’s backing out because of Balfour’s shoulder should come out and apologize to the franchise and the team docs who evaluated Balfour for Baltimore.

Tre-Day
Tre-Day
1 year 6 months ago

Idk, what if Balfour and his agent knew the reason it fell through was the knee and wrist, and they just never told the doctor’s giving the second opinion? Could be that they asked the docs to evaluate the shoulder, and they gave their honest medical opinions. We might not ever know, but let’s not jump to conclusions about who’s at fault.

I Want My Bird
1 year 6 months ago

We’re just never going to know the full story of this melodrama. The knee and wrist could be old injuries that the other Dr’s didn’t think were a concern any longer, and the O’s are using them as an excuse. There is some past O’s track record with this sort of thing, someone here alluded to previously. I’d still definetly take a flyer on him, especially on a 1-yr deal.

Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Unrelated note: love your username and avatar.

Meh Sheep
1 year 6 months ago

What history with the O’s? People cite 2000 when Aaron Sele who had signed a 4 year deal with the O’s and wound up taking a 2 year deal elsewhere and wound up being injured and ineffective for what would have been years 3 and 4 of that deal. Seems like a proper diagnosis by the doctors in that case.

In 1999 Xavier Hernandez failed a physical and wound up never playing in the majors again due to a torn rotator cuff. Another case of the doctors being correct.

Just because players fail physicals it doesn’t mean the doctors are wrong to fail them. Balfour hasn’t signed elsewhere so it could very well be a legitimate injury.

Just like how a pre-approval of a mortgage is not an approval. A contract pending something is not final until the pending conditions are completed.

basemonkey
1 year 6 months ago

He must mean the Os track record of backing out of contracts once every 14-15 years due to health concerns. Just awful. (Sarcasm)

Meh Sheep
1 year 6 months ago

What history with the O’s? People cite 2000 when Aaron Sele who had signed a 4 year deal with the O’s and wound up taking a 2 year deal elsewhere and wound up being injured and ineffective for what would have been years 3 and 4 of that deal. Seems like a proper diagnosis by the doctors in that case.

In 1999 Xavier Hernandez failed a physical and wound up never playing in the majors again due to a torn rotator cuff. Another case of the doctors being correct.

Just because players fail physicals it doesn’t mean the doctors are wrong to fail them. Balfour hasn’t signed elsewhere so it could very well be a legitimate injury.

Just like how a pre-approval of a mortgage is not an approval. A contract pending something is not final until the pending conditions are completed.

Damon Bowman
1 year 6 months ago

Puh-leeze. Balfour is married to Dr. Kremchek’s former assistant. Anything that came out of his mouth as a “medical opinion” was way beyond tainted. Impartiality was not a part of that offering.

Tre-Day
Tre-Day
1 year 6 months ago

That’s a fair assessment. And I had no idea about Balfour and Kremchek’s assistant. Does kind of change things.

bjsguess
1 year 6 months ago

Why?

Can’t doctors have differences of opinions?

There is a reason why people will get 2nd and 3rd opinions even when dealing with the best specialists.

Tom
1 year 6 months ago

Because you don’t come out and criticize an MLB team for not signing a player. You’re a doctor, not a sports columnist.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 6 months ago

What are you saying Sports Columnists are Saints?
Bearer’s of Truth?

TheTruth
1 year 6 months ago

I’ll reserve judgment because I think the entire Orioles organization is like a real life soap opera. Balfour claims that the Orioles specifically pointed to his shoulder as the reason for backing out of the contract. If that’s the reason they gave, then I don’t believe either of those doctors have anything to apologize for. I don’t understand why this didn’t come out three weeks ago. If the wrist/knee concerns are real, the Orioles took a lot of bad PR for no reason. If the wrist/knee concerns are fictional, like the alleged shoulder concerns, then letting the press get a hold of this excuse is outrageously stupid.

chris hines
1 year 6 months ago

Still hoping the Yankees can jump in and make a deal, one year at 7.5M with a vesting option for another year at 7.5M. He’s basically getting the same deal he just has to meet some kind of inning or games finished total to guarantee the second year. I imagine he’d probably lean to games finished so he could leave after a year if Robertson closes out more games in 2014.

Damon Bowman
1 year 6 months ago

Very interesting info from Olney. This also lends an interesting spin to the way Balfour, his agent, and those doctors who spoke up right after the deal was scuttled. Flash back to December and you’ll notice that all of the barking from those on Balfour’s side of the table focused on the shoulder looking exactly the same as it did years earlier. Now that it appears the shoulder wasn’t the issue, it seems as if Balfour and his people knew that wasn’t what the O’s voiced concerns over and still wanted to make them look bad. Now who looks foolish…?

I Want My Bird
1 year 6 months ago

Well the knee and the wrist would be down the list of priorities from the shoulder and the elbow. He still got the job done better than Johnson in 2013.

michael T
1 year 6 months ago

The orioles look foolish as for the second year straight they haven’t signed anyone and now they.put this out there a month later.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 6 months ago

He has to file that grievance! This completely absurd and quite frankly unnacceptable! If anything, I want the truth! I want X-rays. I want MRI’s! Lay it all on the table and have the chips fall where they may!
I mean didn’t these same doctors miss the elbow on Wada?
What about Mike Gonzalez? from back in what 2009 or 2010 and Andy MacPhail ram-rodded him thru. It’s a shame, this is the one-time, I wish Scott Boras was the agent here. I would have loved to seen his reaction to all of this!

$3513744
1 year 6 months ago

there’s something called patient privacy. if he wants those findings out, he’ll have to be the one to release that information. i don’t understand what all the grief is about. teams are supposed to do their diligence and this is exactly why they go through medicals and physicals before signing.

Jack
1 year 6 months ago

Lefty wanted the O’s to sign him so he can bitch in August about paying 8 million to an IR pitcher.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 6 months ago

Really?

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 6 months ago

Look, I don’t care if I break the world record for down arrows!
I don’t care if other Oriole types are not a fan of Lefty.
I don’t care….Period!
What, I want is the truth!
Grant Balfour can lay it all on the line and bring the truth to light!
As a side note, I don’t like the way the Orioles are rolling and begins right at the top!
Peter Angelos
Dan Duquette
Buck Showalter.
Right one down to the low person on the totem pole!
They left Balfour High and Dry!

I Want My Bird
1 year 6 months ago

When you have a heavy-handed owner like Angelos, I’m sure that Duke and Show are just looking over their shoulder and trying to keep jobs. Being the mid-market team the O’s are, I think they’re very lucky to have Showalter, who I think frankly would be in the running to manage a larger market team.

bjsguess
1 year 6 months ago

You are well on your way to setting that record.

Look – you are not entitled, in any way, to demand a players medical records. It frankly is none of your business.

West Coast O's Fan
1 year 6 months ago

Why would they go through all the trouble to make the deal in the first place, just to back out for no reason. If Grant wants the facts out, all he has to do is open his medical records. Belfour has been BSing everyone through out this whole process. First, he told everyone he had a three year deal on the table, but then agrees to a two year deal with the Orioles. Why, because he just had to pitch for the Orioles? No, because he never had a three year deal, and was just BSing. Then the deal with the Orioles fell through and he says he has other multi-year deals on the table. Well what’s he waiting for? Sign one already. But no, you know why? Because he’s BSing us again. He’s lost all credibility in my eyes.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 6 months ago

Balfour a story teller?
No, I don’t see that in him.
Plus, as another Orioles type pointed out, this is new stuff with his knee and wrist. I could see the O’s putting Balfour under the microscope for his shoulder, but his knee and wrist? When has Balfour ever hobbled out of the dugout. When has ever not thrown free and easy like Mitch Williams has stated on the MLB Network. No, I am sticking by Balfour!
Like, I said before, how did the doctors miss Wada his elbow has issues the first week of ST. I want the truth in this matter!

RoninOKC
1 year 6 months ago

Now that we all know what’s wrong with him…offer him the same deal with 8 mill guaranteed the first year and 6 mill the 2nd if everything goes well. Okay, what’s next? I’m just here to help kids.

CrushDani
1 year 6 months ago

How many kids have you helped?

RoninOKC
1 year 6 months ago

All I can man. All I can. Left the comma out there.

TigerDoc
1 year 6 months ago

Apparenlty the O’s concerns cooled the market for Balfour. While he may be connected to several teams, none have signed him. Maybe the O’s were right to be suspicious.

Jman1213
1 year 6 months ago

Now that A-Rod’s suspension is (probably) final, I’d like to see the Yanks offer Balfour a 1 yr/$7 mil or so contract.

section 34
1 year 6 months ago

Wow, way to make a bad situation worse. First the Orioles tell everyone Balfour’s damaged, and now they say he’s damaged in two previously unknown areas?

I would think their position is indefensible in a grievance. They should hope somebody else signs him for the same money, or they may end up paying him this money anyway.

I made a comment in this vein on the Orioles’ cable network website, masn, and got banned from the forum. This is a problem with the Angelos-run Orioles that we thought had gone away: paranoia and inability to see anyone else’s side of an issue.

jb226
1 year 6 months ago

You may be right, but right now you’re jumping to conclusions. We don’t know what information other teams have had during the free agent process. It’s entirely possible (and rather probable) that he didn’t randomly get MRIs on every joint in his body to give to each prospective new employer; rather, that he handed over his file and it was only during the physical that they examined other areas he has not had troubles with and found “problems.”

I put problems in quotes because we still don’t know what exactly they saw. It’s entirely possible that they are still either overblown or the result of the team looking for an excuse to back out of a deal they had second thoughts about. However it may also be something where reasonable doctors may disagree on how large the risk to the team is, and it may be something that everybody would agree with the O’s on. We just don’t know right now.

I Want My Bird
1 year 6 months ago

And stranger things have happened, he could still sign with them on a 1-yr deal that’s heavy on the incentives, if he has no offers elsewhere. Remember the Napoli situation, but that seemed to stay amicable on both sides when the hip issue was discovered.

bjsguess
1 year 6 months ago

Not an O’s fan …

Their position is potentially completely defensible. Neither you or I have all of the facts.

I said it above and I’ll say it again – doctors can have a difference of opinions. Not all doctors agree on a diagnosis. Certainly, not all doctors will agree on what the future may hold for a particular athlete. Unless the O’s doctors were negligent in their evaluation you are not going to be able to pin any blame on the organization.

What we KNOW today is that the team doctors had serious reservations about his health. At least one other doctor disagreed with that assessment. Based on this information alone there isn’t enough to file a grievance.

Mike1L
1 year 6 months ago

It’s pretty obvious, that, for whatever the reason, Baltimore decided they didn’t want Balfour. Maybe he’s injured, maybe it’s just wear and tear being ginned up. Certainly the fans can’t be sure. What I don’t understand is why this story continues to have legs. Why does Baltimore need to keep raising new issues?

Cabro Epico
1 year 6 months ago

Is this info supposed to come out? Orioles are killing Balfour’s value

FS54
1 year 6 months ago

I like Orioles since I live in Baltimore (not my favorite team though) but I really hope Balfour finds a good deal that works out for his team and him. Even if Orioles found something wrong with his medicals, I don’t think announcing it to the world is the right approach. Other teams also have medicals before signings so it is not like Orioles are doing anyone any favors.

Mike1L
1 year 6 months ago

You are welcome. And it’s pretty obvious that the O’s seem to keep sticking it to Balfour. One can draw one’s own conclusions…