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Orioles nearing a deal with closer Grant Balfour

Dec 17, 2013, 1:45 PM EDT

Division Series - Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers - Game Three Getty Images

Grant Balfour was said to be close to signing with the Orioles a week ago and now Ken Rosenthal of reports that the two sides are on the verge of a two-year deal.

Balfour is 36 years old, but based on his performance as the A’s closer during the past two seasons he’s likely to be an upgrade over Jim Johnson in the ninth-inning role. This year Balfour saved 38 games with a 2.59 ERA and 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings, holding opponents to a .206 batting average.

Johnson racked up 50-plus saves in back-to-back seasons, but if the Orioles give Balfour that many save chances he’ll do that too. And probably with a lot more strikeouts and a lot less fan anxiety.

UPDATE: Roch Kubatko of says the two-year deal is worth $14 million.

  1. uyf1950 - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    According to reports it’s a done deal, now. For 2 years $14MM with $500K deferred in each year. Not a bad signing for the Orioles.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      Correction: It should be plus $500K deferred in each year. Total deal is for $15MM

  2. aphillieated - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Balfour, take your base

  3. The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    I tried to warn the A’s. If you’re not careful with Balfour, he’s gonna walk.

    Wakka wakka wakka.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 17, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      Are you implying that this is going to boomerang against Oakland?

  4. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Dec 17, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    It’s about damn time. Was starting to get worried he was going to go somewhere else. Now time for the O’s to find a starting pitcher, an outfielder, and a DH.

  5. theeperspective - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Can Balfour also start in left field and achieve a high OBP before he switches to a closer in the 9th? Or better yet, can he start? I like the pick-up, but the O’s are overlooking glaring needs. Closers can be replaced much easier than starting pitchers. O’s fans have witnessed this phenomenon since Mussina left. Starting pitching wins games. Closers are glorified relievers.

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