Orioles Reportedy Sign Former Rays Reliever Grant Balfour

Baltimore Orioles Fill Closer Vacancy With Former Rays Pitcher Grant Balfour

Former Rays reliever Grant Balfour has reportedly signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles.  Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (Twitter) was first to report that the two sides were close. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter) reports that the deal is a 2-year contract at $7M per year with $500k deferred bringing the total value of the deal to $15M.

A's_Grant_Balfour_2013 Balfour will replace Jim Johnson who was traded to the  Oakland A’s on December 2nd for second baseman Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later.

Balfour was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in late July of 2007 for Seth McClung and like many other relievers his career took off while a member of the Rays.

In three seasons with the Rays (2008-2010) he established himself as a top high leverage back end arm appearing in 181 games posting a record of 13-7 with a 2.98 ERA with an impressive strike out rate of 10.3 K/9 and a moderate walk rate of  3.7 BB/9.

His time in Tampa led the Oakland Athletics to sign him to a 3-year/$12.25M deal and eventually place him in the role as the teams closer.

In 2011 he was a set up man for the A’s and appeared in 62 games posting a 5-2 record with a 2.47 ERA.  In 2012 and 2013 he settled in as the A’s closer saving 24 games and 38 games respectively. Overall with the A’s, he appeared in 202 games posting a 9-7 record with a 2.53 ERA and compiling 64 saves.  As with the Rays he had an outstanding strike out rate of 9.2 K/9 and a walk rate of 3.4 BB/9.

Balfour is the third high profile closer to sign this offseason following Joe Nathan with the Tigers and Brian Wilson with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Nathan’s  signed a two-year, $20MM contract with a $10MM option for 2016 and Wilson, who will not be filling the closers role in Los Angeles, signed a 1-year/$10M contract that includes a $8.5M player option for 2016. The option includes incentives for games finished that could push the value of the option to $10M.

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