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UPDATE: Grant Balfour is out as the Rays’ closer

Jun 9, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

Grant Balfour Getty Images

UPDATE: Welp, the uncertainty didn’t last long. Balfour is out as Rays’ closer. Joe Maddon said he would use the old “closer by committee” thing.

9:16 AM: Grant Balfour has been pretty atrocious this season. He has a 6.46 ERA, a 1.65 WHIP, and 21/20 K/BB ratio in 23 and two-thirds innings. Yesterday he came in to a 0-0 game in the ninth inning and surrendered five runs on four hits and walked two. Yet, he remains the Rays’ closer. For now. From Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

Grant Balfour didn’t really have any answers after his latest ninth-inning collapse, turning a scoreless game — with two outs, nobody on and two strikes on a .167 hitter — into a 5-0 mess of a loss Sunday.

“He’s our closer as of today,” Maddon replied . . . “Even if I was going to change anything, I wouldn’t tell you guys anyhow.”

The Rays’ season is sort of lost already, so maybe who is closing the games doesn’t matter. But in the meantime, Jake McGee or Juan Carlos Oviedo may be getting some time in the ninth inning soon.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    On a more positive note: Tampa Bay will be picking high in next year’s draft.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Maddon’s vote of confidence yesterday lasted less than a day. This morning, it was announced that Mr. Committee is taking over as the Tampa Bay closer.

      • raysfan1 - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        Well he did use the word “today” in that “vote of confidence.”

  2. raysfan1 - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    And to think just last season he had an ERA 2.59/ERA+ 146, 34 saves, 1.197 WHIP.

    Moore, Cobb, Archer, and Hellickson have all been hurt. The last thing a patch work rotation needs is a bullpen not pitching well.

    • madhatternalice - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      When did Archer get hurt?

      • raysfan1 - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:09 PM

        Oops, sorry. He hasn’t been on the DL. I was thinking he was pitching hurt in April, but I can’t anything that says so…so I’m probably hallucinating.

      • madhatternalice - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        All good. I hadn’t seen anything about it, so I thought maybe I had missed something. Thanks for clarifying!

  3. unclemosesgreen - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    But his truck is amazing.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      He’s pitching poorly because he’s still upset about people making fun of his awesome rolling pile of manliness.

    • historiophiliac - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Nobody cares about your fantasy truck league.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        I would absolutely watch a show that was strictly about the trucks of the rich & famous.

        Trucks are awesome. They just are.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        This show does not exist already? Really?

      • unclemosesgreen - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        Sadly, no.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:26 AM


      • indaburg - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        You sure Detroit doesn’t want this guy? We’ll throw in some fresh Florida orange juice.

        Think Balfour is compensating for something with that truck?

      • historiophiliac - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        She said it! Not me!

      • indaburg - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        I was referring to his weak 91.5 mph fastball. What are you guys talking about?

      • historiophiliac - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM

        Are you saying his balls are flaccid? What?

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        So you and Inda think Balfour purchased the truck to compensate for small penis syndrome?
        Lol! Certainly possible. Either way…that is a hell of a compensation!

      • historiophiliac - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        Hey, man, it’s all about how you use it.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        The truck? Well…I have heard a great number of Hillbillies proclaim “what’s da’ use of perchissin’ a vee-hicle ifins’ ya’ caint haul no wood in it?”

      • historiophiliac - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        I think we all know the answer to that.

  4. zackd2 - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Funny no Mets fans / radio hosts are complaining Sandy didn’t pay up for this guy

  5. proudlycanadian - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    There is a closer in the AL East who has yet to give up an earned run this season; but nobody is talking about him.

    • clydeserra - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      all year? All 11 innings?

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        Got a late start due to an injury.

    • happytwinsfan - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      We’ll see if we can’t shine a spotlight on him tonight.

  6. nsstlfan - Jun 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Looks like the O’s knew what they were doing when they didn’t sign this guy

    • raysfan1 - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Same team signed Ubaldo Jiminez to a 4-year, $50M contract, however.

      • gloccamorra - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:45 PM

        But they signed Nelson Cruz too, and that worked out. Maybe they used hitting scouts to evaluate pitchers.

    • clydeserra - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      But they DID sign the guy, but opted out due to “injury.”

      If they got cold feet due to injury, they were wrong. if they got cold feet because they thought he sucked, they also did it wrong because they AGREED to a contract.

      • dlgdc - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        They agreed to terms pending physical, they didn’t sign him. But you’re right, if they really thought he sucked they wouldn’t have agreed to anything.

      • clydeserra - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        right. good point

      • 18thstreet - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        He’s not hurt. The Orioles did something really sleazy.

  7. hittfamily - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    I doubt McGee gets any saves. 2 reasons: 1, hes a lefty. Lefty’s aren’t used to close out games very often because they are more useful in situational matchups. 2, and more importantly, he’s arbitration eligible. We’ve seen whatclosers make in arb. Even bad one’s like Jim Johnson and Chris Perez were making 10 mil and 8 mil respectively. Jake McGee, a superior pitcher, will never make 3 million, and it’s because arbitrators pay for saves, not holds.

    Oviedo should be the closer, even though McGee is one of the more dominant relievers in baseball.

    • psuorioles - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Zach Britton disagrees with you

      • scatterbrian - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        So does Sean Doolittle.

      • hittfamily - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        Very often….not never. And they went every road possible before him, didn’t they?

  8. apeville - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Whatever the O’s saw wrong with him- was real. And the A’s continue their incredible knack of getting rid of certain guys at just the right time. Though, as an A’s fan- I miss Bartolo Colon. A lot, But at least now with the Mets I get to watch him to try to hit, which is superbly entertaining.

    I got off topic.

    • kruegere - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      The A’s acquired Jim Johnson. So, there goes that ‘knack’ theory.

      The O’s saw something wrong with Balfour’s knee. If Balfour’s knees are why he gives up 5 ER after striking out the first 2 and then getting the 3rd to 0-2, well, we need more specialized knee doctors.

    • flatsorter - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      Why do people always say a team “got rid of” a player when he was a free agent?

  9. wogggs - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    Maybe the A’s could trade Jim Johnson for him…

  10. senioreditor2 - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Apparently the Orioles were right?

    • clydeserra - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      how so? that he was damaged goods? No, I think they have been proven wrong about that.

      • sophiethegreatdane - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        How have they been proven wrong? It’s not outside the realm of possibility that he’s pitching hurt. It happens all the time.

        I wouldn’t say they’ve been proven right either, but injury is certainly a possibility when a guy is effective one season, and seems to have lost it entirely the next season.

  11. doctorofsmuganomics - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy

  12. hittfamily - Jun 9, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    It’s a good thing they traded Alex Torres for Logan Forsythe. Forsythe line is .191/.248/.245 with no home runs in 121 AB. Torres has a 1.01 ERA in 26.2 IP for the Pads this season.

    • flatsorter - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:53 PM

      The other 5 players involved in the trade all retired?

  13. jehzsa - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    In other important news, the Rays have hired the services of a Seminole medicine man to cleanse the bad ju-ju off Tropicana Field.

    • jehzsa - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      It’s sort of a “spiritual cleansing coach”.

      Every team should have one.

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