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Grant Balfour now drawing interest from the Rays

Dec 21, 2013, 8:58 AM EDT

Grant Balfour AP AP

Grant Balfour‘s contract with the Orioles was nixed over a disputed issue with his shoulder, but that messy situation isn’t scaring off one of his former teams. According to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, the Rays “are in” on the All-Star closer.

The Rays are somewhat of a logical fit at this point, as they are in the market for a closer and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Rays team physician Koco Eaton performed an MRI on Balfour’s shoulder yesterday and was surprised that the Orioles backed out of the deal. With the market starting to shrink for closers, they could be able to get him for a discount rate. And hey, Balfour would get a chance to see a lot of the Orioles if he pitches in the American League East.

Balfour previously pitched for the Rays from 2007-2010, posting a 3.33 ERA in 203 appearances as a set-up man. It was there that he enjoyed his first real success in the majors.

  1. proudlycanadian - Dec 21, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    A good fit.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Dec 21, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      speaking of signing players when are the jays gonna improve on that outstanding team that finished 23 games back last year? I guess they feel they don’t need any help, well its either that or they are broke, lol

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 21, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        Hi Harry, you have just reminded me of an old Christmas song. The lyrics are; “Have yourself a Merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light.” … “Make the yuletide gay.”

  2. rockthered1286 - Dec 21, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    I’m officially subscribed to the theory stating Murphy’s Law is in full effect for Charm City’s baseball team. That being said? Balfour will most likely join Tampa, have another All Star year, and the O’s will sign the likes of Perez or some other borderline horrendous closer as the franchise continues to fall into irrelevance once again…

  3. ptfu - Dec 21, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Good for the Rays still playing Moneyball. Go for productive players badmouthed by others.

    • shockgee - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      No, actually, they’re the one organization that top the charts in signing and or developing state of the art jerks. Luke Scott (Tea Party/Bagger all around big talk, no walk), David Price (Dude, shut down your Twitter), Evan Longoria (What is with this guy? So arrogant, shining kids who want his autograph?), Matt Bush (DUI – Life ruiner), Josh Sale (Picture of him next to Douchebag in Webster’s), Yunel Escobar (Hates the rainbow flag flyers), Wil Myers (Evan Longoria’s clone off – big talk, can cut it in the ALDS), Fernando Rodney (Tilted caps say it all), Chris Archer (Kid looks and acts 12 years old, another one that wreaks of arrogance). No need to go on. Point made. Great job Joe Maddon! There’s hip and then there is hip with no structure or discipline.

  4. hittfamily - Dec 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    I don’t like this. They have been spending too much this offseason. I smell a rat. Longo gonna be traded before his salary jumps into double digits in 2 years? Friedman going back to Wall Street now that the economy is fixed? Seriously, 5 mil for Heath Bell? 4 Mil for Molina? 11 mil for Dejesus? 21 mil for Loney? Now 15 mil to Balfour? 13 mil for David price is too expensive though?

    The bullpen already has Torres, Peralta, and Jake Mcgee, all capable of closing. It has Heath Bell, a former closer. It has Juan Carlos Oviedo AKA Leo Nunez, a former closer. Why spend just to spend? They have been so successful at turning trash arms into excellent relievers, this just seems lik a massive waste. I’d rather the money be spent to lock up Cobb, Jennings, Archer, Myers, Jennings . etc.

    He could literally have the greatest year ever, and I’d still call it a waste of money, because he isn’t THAT much better than any one of 5 in house options.

    • raysfan1 - Dec 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      They aren’t spending just to spend. They are, however, trying to field a team that will contend for the WS in 2014.

      Longoria will never be traded, that would be PR suicide. Price could still be moved, but I bet he isn’t until next off season.

      Also, they, and every other team, have an extra $27M they can use in pursuing their goals this year. Friedman has shown he knows what he’s doing, and none of the signings this off season have been outrageous.

      Relax.

      • hittfamily - Dec 21, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        McGee, Peralta, Torres, Bell, Oviedo, are all roster locks. Jeff Beliveau is very likely a lock for the pen. They also have Ramos, Lueke, and Gomes who have either had success in the pen, or have the stuff to be successful. Steve Geltz, who they got for Dane De La Rosa, had a great year in AAA, K’ing 10.75 per 9 in 67 IP with a 2.82 ERA. They could have Mike Montgomery, who killed it in winter league, as well, be a hard throwing lefty out of the pen.

        Jim Hickey is great at turning bad relievers into good ones. Friedman is great at finding bad relievers with great upside for Hickey. The management is great at turning crap to gold, as they have done with Rodney, Farnsworth, JP Howell, Peralta, Benoit, Wright, and Even Balfour, who didn’t have any success until his 30’s when the Rays signed him and put him in AAA.

        Their already stacked pen, combined with the talent of the management, combined with the volatility of bullpen arms soon to turn 40, combined with one of baseball’s smallest payrolls, leads me to 1 conclusion: Grant Balfour is an unnecessary luxury, on a team that can’t afford luxuries.

    • indaburg - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      I would LOVE to have that crazy Aussie back. I agree with raysfan1. I see this as the Rays thinking they can win it all in 2014. They’re going for it. The AL East, much like 2013, looks vulnerable again. The Yankees are not likely to contend this year. They lack the pitching and they are going to miss Cano. The Orioles have bullpen issues. The Jays also lack the pitching (I covet thy hitters). The Red Sox again will be our primary competition. They’re down Ellsbury, but when he went on the DL lin 2013, the Sox didn’t miss a beat. Buchholz will have some regression–his BABIP was a career low .253 and while his GB/FB ratio stayed around his 3 year norm, he gave up a ridiculously low 0.33 HR/9 innings. That number simply isn’t sustainable. Buchholz had the best of both worlds–he was good and he was lucky. He might good again next year, but luck isn’t always a lady. Just ask Hellickson. Anyhow, I’ve digressed big time. I just wanted to show that the Sox might be a little vulnerable. The thing with them is get to the starter because their bullpen is locked down.

      I don’t think Price will be traded this off-season because (no pun intended) the price the Rays are asking is too high. This is likely Price’s last year with the team. He’ll either be traded at the trading deadline if the season goes to hell (injuries, underachieving play, whatever), or next off-season to not lose him for nothing. Longoria is going nowhere. He is the franchise.

  5. raysfan1 - Dec 21, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Would be happy to have him back. I’m also hoping Crain signs. That could make for a really formidable pen.

  6. pastabelly - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    The Red Sox may not win 97 again, but Bogearts will replace offense lost with departure of Ellsbury. Buccholz missed more than half of 2013. He could easily be more productive than he was in 2013. Tampa Bay can win the East. Oust wouldn’t count on it.

    • raysfan1 - Dec 21, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      I don’t think anyone reasonable would count the Red Sox out. Plus anyone assuming a WS prior to the season even starting is deluded.

  7. raysfan1 - Dec 21, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Well, school is out, and we are now starting to see asinine comments from some of our resident trolls cropping up again. Coincidence? I think not. Pity. Their absence had been one of the nicest things about the off season.

    • hittfamily - Dec 22, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      Are you talking to me?

      • raysfan1 - Dec 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        Nope.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 22, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        I’m referring to people who post only to insult other people’s teams and/ or fans. They know who they are without me naming them or giving them the respect of responding to them directly.

        You have not spent time denigrating other teams. You simply support your favorite team. We support the same team but have differing opinions on what’s best for them at times. That’s fine, nobody agrees with anyone all the time.

        I’ve never considered you to be a troll, hitt.

    • hittfamily - Dec 22, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      Okay. Cool. Thanks. I have been away since August, and have only recently returned, so I thought maybe it was at me. I have been known to troll Yanks and Sox fans, but never our Rays. 2011 will always be brought up when discussing Red Sox.

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