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Orioles Reportedy Sign Former Rays Reliever Grant Balfour

Baltimore Orioles Fill Closer Vacancy With Former Rays Pitcher Grant Balfour

Former Rays reliever Grant Balfour [1] has reportedly signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles.  Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (Twitter [2]) was first to report that the two sides were close. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter [3]) 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 [4] Balfour will replace Jim Johnson [5] who was traded to the  Oakland A’s on December 2nd for second baseman Jemile Weeks [6] and a player to be named later.

Balfour was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in late July of 2007 for Seth McClung [7] 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 [8] with the Tigers and Brian Wilson [9] 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.