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Orioles working on a deal with closer Grant Balfour

Dec 10, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

Oakland Athletics v Pittsburgh Pirates Getty Images

It sounds like Baltimore has zeroed in on its preferred Jim Johnson replacement, as Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Orioles are “trying to get a deal done” with former A’s closer Grant Balfour.

Balfour didn’t get a chance to be a closer until age 33, but he’s saved 62 games with a 2.56 ERA and 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings during the past two seasons while holding opponents to a .182 batting average.

Based on just about everything except save totals–which are inherently iffy as an evaluation tool–Balfour represents an upgrade over Johnson and perhaps a pretty sizable upgrade at that.

  1. @Cereal_22 - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    He’s very good if you’re into spending money on one inning per game types. I thought the O’s were not ??

    • psuorioles - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      O’s weren’t interested in spending $10 mill a season on a closer… wait until the deal is signed and at what amount before the complaints start.

      • pipkin42 - Dec 10, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        Even more to the point, they weren’t interested in paying $10 million for Jim Johnson’s gaudy save totals and good-but-not-great other numbers. So even if they pay Balfour $10 million/year, they might still reasonably view that as money better spent (I’m not sure I’d agree with them, but he does seem like an upgrade).

  2. losangelesfan - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I kinda thought he’d be perfect in Arizona. He’s got grit.

    • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Don’t confuse “grit” with “psychosis”.

      • dcarroll73 - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

        Hasn’t confusing grit with psychosis always been Gibson’s problem?

  3. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Dec 10, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    I suspected they might turn to him after the JJ trade. In the end if we can effectively deal J.J. for Balfour and 4-6 mil plus the minor league players we got from Oakland, it’ll turn into a pretty good deal.

  4. APBA Guy - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I enjoyed Balfour, and especially his fans in the right field bleachers, these last two years. But O’s fans would do well to remember Don “Full-Pack” Stanhouse when they anticipate Balfour. Balfour certainly throws harder, but sometimes the strike zone becomes more theoretical than actual, and when that happns 1-2 mph comes off and the fastball straightens. In the Big Ballpark, ie, the Mausoleum, that’s ok. In Camden, those pitches get lost.

  5. mmeyer3387 - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    That is a lot of speculation, why should Oakland wish to make such a deal? Sure anything is possible, but the Jim Johnson trade still appears to be a salary dump from everything that we know now. Indeed, there were rumors that the O’s tried to sign him before and had to trade him because neither side could agree on the numbers. Is Balfour going to agree to the Orioles numbers, where as J.J. couldn’t? At this point all we have is speculation.

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