Right-hander Grant Balfour, who was designated for assignment by the Rays last week, has cleared release waivers and is a free agent, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). Wolfson adds that he checked to see if a reunion with the Twins was a possibility, but he’s been told that Balfour will be signing elsewhere.
The 37-year-old Balfour looked to be on his way to the Orioles in the 2013-14 offseason, but his two-year deal fell through after the O’s weren’t comfortable with the results of his physical. Balfour ultimately ended up returning to Tampa Bay — the team with which he revived his career in 2008.
Balfour’s second stint in St. Petersburg, however, did not go as smoothly as his first. In 66 2/3 innings over the past two seasons, Balfour worked to a 5.00 ERA with 57 strikeouts against 45 walks. His ~93mph average fastball velocity dipped to 91.6 mph in 2014, and in this season’s small sample, he averaged just 89.4 mph. However, part of that could be due to the fact that Balfour missed much of Spring Training as he traveled back to his native Australia to be with his dying father for his final days.
From 2008-13, Balfour was a highly effective relief weapon, working to a 2.74 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 380 1/3 innings. Balfour averaged 64 appearances and 63 innings per season in that stretch, and he served as Oakland’s closer for the final two years of that stretch. With the A’s, the fiery Balfour saved 64 games and earned the first All-Star nod of his 12-year Major League career.
The Rays owe Balfour $7MM in 2015 (though $2MM of that figure is deferred). Should he latch on with another team, as Wolfson indicated, that club would be on the hook for only the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time Balfour spends on the big league roster.
Diamondbacks have too many young, developing options waiting in the wings for Balfour to make sense. Munson and Barrett are both MLB-ready now, but languishing in Reno while they wait for the team to demote someone or for an injury to clear them a path. Stites is still on the DL, but is expected back in the first half, and then there are three more arms pushing the envelope of MLB-read behind him.
Since the angels traded Jepsen, How about they take a risk on Balfour
But Balfour isn’t a lefty
they have ramos and alverez
Fair point, but I really see them signing him to a minor league deal and calling him up later
It’s not on this topic but, I thought of something since hamilton is gone, the angles do not have a lefty power bat, should they take a look at Howard and make a trade? Or pass
I don’t think so, unless the Phillies take a chunk of his salary. The other problem is if the Angels have the prospects or player value to get him
The phillies said I think are willing to eat about 50 million of the contract, A couple prospects come to mind that they might like, Heaney , Tropeano and Perez. They could add cj cron in the deal but I don’t think they do that
But it depends if they are willing to get rid of them to get Howard
Yea since Hamilton is gone, the only lefty hitters the angels have is joyce and navarro
I think Joyce is enough. He’s a pretty good hitter
Trade Heaney for Howard? And you’re an Angels fan?
I was just saying players that Amaro would be asking for and that is when dipoto will hang up
Will always be my favorite baseball name.
That said the Ranger’s bullpen is a disaster. Actually can he play the outfield? Can’t hit any worse than Choo.
Vandals Took The Handles
So can we close the book on all the people that commented here about how the Orioles FO was so wrong in not following through with a contract for Balfour after the Orioles has seen the results of his physical?
One thing I’ve learned about blogs – when people that do not have all the information attack and agree en masse on any issue, they’re almost always proved wrong.
If the Orioles announced or leaked the results of Balfour’s physical, that was wrong, and in fact is illegal in the U.S.
The O’s weren’t wrong to walk away but it should have happened without anyone knowing about it. I don’t know which side trumpeted the signing, Balfour’s or Baltimore’s. If Balfour’s agent leaked it, or another team leaked it that Balfour told, then it’s his own fault. But something a lot of baseball commenters, including professionals, don’t understand is that even professional athletes have a right to privacy about their health issues.
First off his agent and then is Dr. that open his big fat mouth wanting to know why and ran to the media saying there is nothing wrong with Balfour’s, whatever umm shoulder and it turns out that is was something else that the O’s were not happy about. They stated that only. That right there is a problem for a potential Free Agent when a team pursues you and walks away after the physical. his agent states they changed their minds and used it as an excused – no apologies were made from their camp on that and oh the O’s Dr’s were right too recommend staying clear of him
His rage reserves ran dry once he left the coliseum. Something about being unable to flush the toilet in the clubhouse really brought out the best in Balfour.
It’s a shame he struggled, especially with the lose of his dad. It all probably took a lot out of him and his performance. I really hope that he gets with another team and does really well.
Come back to the A’s where you have bleacher creatures!!
Good luck Grant. You never quit, you never made excuses, and your only crime in Tampa Bay was that your best wasn’t good enough.
That’s a big reason I give him props. Even with all the other stuff going on in his life, Balfour never made excuses for his performance
It was kind of sickening watching “fans” turn on him like they did, and act like he was Charles Manson or something. Then dance around when he was released. As if that was something good.
I never boo players because I feel that they had the skill to perform and play on a big league level. I always liked Balfour and prayed the whole time that he would get on track and get back into a good motion
he played vey poorly with us he deserved to get booed
Yeah, you buy your ticket and have the right to boo. My comments about being sickened were referring to vicious comments I’d read in fan boards.
I can’t imagine it will be long before he gets some team calling with some level of interest, should he choose to go that route.
sorry he was solid for a few years but he is done
I understand he didn’t look good to Tampa, but there could be legitimate personal issues contributing to that. He’s got enough of a track record that should get him calls at least on minor league deal interest, considering he’s still getting paid after being released.
Oh I think he’ll get calls but too many really good relievers just completely fell off out of nowhere, it seems just another case
DODGER DEPTH PLS
Friedman would probably want him. He was the one who signed him when he was with Tampa Bay
Lionel Bossman Craft
Guess Balfour threw too many ball fours.
I’ll just say it now, welcome to Philadelphia, Grant.
Tigers… but there is some bad blood there with Detroit.
THE RING EMPIRE
Man, what a bad signing for Tampa. Hopefully Grant can turn it around with a new team.
I guess my Orioles knew something after all the criticism. No sour grapes as Balfour is quite the competitor.
He has to be better than Kevin Gregg….
I could see the Blue Jays picking him up.