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Orioles, Grant Balfour going back and forth on potential contract

Dec 15, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics v Pittsburgh Pirates Getty Images

Jen Royle of the Boston Herald is reporting that the Orioles and free agent reliever Grant Balfour are still hammering out their differences on a potential contract. The Orioles preferred a two-year deal at $6 million per year; Balfour wanted a three-year deal at $8 million per year with a vesting option. Royle’s source says there won’t be a vesting option. Royle also adds that Balfour has been offered a “sweet” deal from an unnamed team but the right-hander would prefer to work things out with the O’s.

Balfour, who turns 36 years old, is one of the few high-quality relievers still available in free agency. Joaquin Benoit remains available, and following him, Fernando Rodney would move up in the free agency rankings. Every other reliever has some inherent risk due to some combination of age, injury history, and/or inconsistency.

  1. missthemexpos - Dec 15, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    “Going back and forth” … must be getting paid by the word in the headline, I would simply call it negotiating.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 15, 2013 at 8:07 PM

      They also appear to be going forth and back. I am waiting for the Mystery Team to jump into the fray.

  2. mmeyer3387 - Dec 15, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    The Birds need a closer, there no getting around this fact. I’ve never been the type of person that is big on placing blame and scapegoating one person for a whole team. However, Jim Johnson may be an exception, While Johnson is loaded with talent, he had a very inconsistent year. In which, he may have cost his team a playoff spot. After all, he led the MLB in blown saves which, is unheard of for a playoff team. Reason dictates that the Orioles need a dependable closer and Grant Balfour could be the answer.

    • itsbenfeldman - Dec 15, 2013 at 7:26 PM

      Cleveland’s Joe Borowski led the AL in blown saves in 2007. Playoff team.
      Brad Lidge led the NL in blown saes in 2009 – Philadelphia in the WS.

      Not that it’s desirable, but not “unheard of”

  3. watermelon1 - Dec 15, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Still can’t believe Jen royle’s short time covering Baltimore sports before the fans pretty much ran her out of town.

    Good to hear she’s doing okay.

    • johnnyhamer - Dec 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      I accidentally reported this and I apologize for that.

      However, Jen Royle pretty much ran herself out of town. She’s very cool as a person but was too much of a Boston homer to cover Baltimore sports.

  4. mmeyer3387 - Dec 15, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    Itsbenfeldman thank-you, you are right about closers with blown saves making it before. That being said, may I make my point clearer, its rare for a team over come a bad closer and go to the post season. Still, there are almost exceptions for everything and so it has happened with inconsistent closers, Case and point, we could site the case of the Arizona D-banks, when they were able to win a world series with a terrible closer that had blown saves in the world series and was not able to save one WS game. However, most teams need a consistent closer and decent relief pitching as well to advance. Johnson had a lot of blown saves last year and I think that we can agree that in the Orioles case, Jim Johnson had a very inconsistent year. One could go farther and site that it was one of the key factor in Orioles playoff drive coming up short.

    • DJ MC - Dec 16, 2013 at 12:52 AM

      No, most teams need decent relief pitching and someone pitching at the end of games who simply isn’t going to screw things up. Most “inconsistent closers” are just normal relievers who had a nice season and got an undeserved reputation that leads managers to not make a change that ought to be made. If more managers were willing to either ride the hot hand or, as in a team like Oakland or Tampa Bay, cycle through “closers” as necessary, baseball would be a lot less annoying overall.

      Jim Johnson was an up-and-down reliever from 2008-2010. He then had back-to-back great seasons in 2011 and 2012, but because he was the “closer” who got all of the “saves” in 2012 he earned that reputation that meant Showalter refused to adjust the roles when Johnson got streaky in 2013. Then, thanks to all of those saves driving up his perceived value (while his actual value remained the same), he had to be traded away up against the non-tender deadline for–ironically–a smaller return than he was actually worth.

    • clydeserra - Dec 16, 2013 at 1:05 AM

      Byung-Hyun Kim was a great closer in 2001 and 2002. He blew two games in the world series. that doesn’t make him bad, it makes him like every other player. You know, having off days and such

    • clydeserra - Dec 16, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      and of course, the Diamondbacks had no other save opportunities for that World series

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