5:47pm: Balfour confirms that he has indeed inked a new deal with the Rays, Topkin tweets.
5:41pm: The Rays may be in the process of re-signing struggling righty Grant Balfour to a minor league deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. Tampa Bay released Balfour on Tuesday and remains on the hook for his $7MM salary this year.
Balfour, 37, inked a two-year, $12MM deal to join the Rays before the 2014 season, and to say he has been a disappointment would be an understatement. Over 66 2/3 total innings in his second stint with the club, he has posted a 5.00 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against a troubling 6.1 BB/9.
Things got even worse this year, as Balfour failed to notch a strikeout while permitting four free passes in his first 4 1/3 innings of the season. His fastball was down about two full ticks as against last year, and he had already lost velocity from his prior years’ work.
Over a dozen years in the league, Balfour has worked to a 3.49 ERA while averaging 9.5 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9. Tampa’s plan to bring him back to (or, at least, near) that level of productivity would be to send him to Triple-A for a few weeks, says Topkin, in an effort to get him back on track.