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The A’s sign Grant Balfour: Two years, $8.1 million

Jan 14, 2011, 11:58 AM EDT

Grant Balfour

UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that the deal is for two years, $8.1 million, pending a physical.

10:58 AM: Did someone mention Rays free agents signing elsewhere?  Because we have another: Grant Balfour is close to signing a deal with the Oakland Athletics. That according to Jon Paul Morosi. It’s a multi-year deal. We have no details on the dollars yet, but we’ll update them as soon as they come in.

Balfour went 13-7 with a 2.98 ERA and 207 strikeouts in 181 innings over the past three years as the setup man in Tampa Bay.  There was talk earlier this winter of the Orioles being interested in him, but their deal with Kevin Gregg scuttled that.

Balfour is a type-A free agent, so that means that this is just the latest deal that gives the Rays draft picks.  Indeed, as Aaron is going to explain in a post later this morning,  in that regard this has been an outrageously profitable winter for the Rays.

  1. apbaguy - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    There are two reason’s for Beane pursuing a Type A free agent: 1) the A’s will keep him until they prove to themselves that they are in or out of the West race, and 2) if they drop out of the race, they can trade him to a contender and get that #1 pick back. The A’s rotation is felt to be strong, but last year the bullpen was shaky, with injuries (it’s the A’s) and fatigue. Balfour is insurance, not necessarily an upgrade, and his recent health is better than many of the A’s bullpen.

  2. Loren - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    I just checked where the A’s drafted this year, figuring it must be in the top 15 so they would only lose a second rounder, but they draft 18th. I just can’t see how it’s worth it to give up the 18th pick in a stacked draft for a middle reliever, especially for a team that lives and dies through the draft.

    • scottp9 - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      It’s a protected pick. The A’s were (barely) in the bottom half of the 30 teams last year. The pick is pushed down from the original #15 because of extra picks added to the round for unsigned 2010 draftees.

      • Loren - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:41 PM

        Thanks. That makes me feel a little better.

  3. kinggeorge96 - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Is it just me, or do we hear a lot about the 3,000,000 free agents the Rays have lost to free agency and their being able to pick every player in first round of the draft, but nothing about the players they are being replaced with? I might have exaggerated that number a bit, btw…

    But seriously, are they going to put out the farm team in Rays jerseys next year? Or are the draftees going to be suiting up in the majors next year.

  4. BC - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    $4 mil a year to Balfour? Wouldn’t it have been smarter to spend that money on someone who can, you know, actually hit a baseball once in a while?

    • scatterbrian - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      That would be nice, but who would you recommend exactly? I don’t see any viable options just sitting around waiting for a phone call…

      • BC - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        Manny. I bet they could have had him for 1 year, $8 mil.

      • clydeserra - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:28 PM

        There are no hitting options. Manny may still be able to hit, but it would all be given back when either him or Matsui has to play left.

      • scatterbrian - Jan 14, 2011 at 5:21 PM

        The A’s already have a cheaper and comparable DH, and there’s no way Manny would play in the field.

    • raffy7 - Jan 16, 2011 at 12:13 AM

      While I do think $4mil is a bit steep for Balfour, the A’s did add Dejesus, Willingham and Matsui this offseason, so their lineup will be much improved

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