2:24pm: A club official says that the team did not beat the Rays' offer on Balfour, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (Twitter links.) Though the Mets had "dialogue" with Balfour, the source said, only a "real creative" contract would have been possible for the club.
The Mets made an equivalent offer to that of the Rays, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
2:17pm: The Mets offered Grant Balfour a larger deal than the two-year, $12MM pact he signed with the Rays, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The closer instead chose Tampa because of its proximity to his Clearwater, Florida home, says Rosenthal, and may also have considered the impact of Florida's lack of state income taxes.
The news is most interesting for what it says about a Mets organization that has already guaranteed nearly $90MM in free agent signings. With Bobby Parnell expecting to resume his duties as closer to start the year, and the club seemingly already controlling enough pieces for the pen, the interest in Balfour rates as a surprise. That is especially so given that Balfour is already 36, and the Mets will play the coming year without ace Matt Harvey to help lead a renaissance. If nothing else, it would appear that the Mets still have money to spend on the market, if any other players carry sufficient appeal for GM Sandy Alderson.