Instead of preparing to introduce their new closer and first impact acquisition of the offseason Friday, the Orioles will now restart their search for a ninth-inning option.
A two-year, $15 million agreement with former Oakland closer Grant Balfour is dead after concerns arose about the state of his right shoulder during his physical. Baltimore had planned to hold a press conference to introduce the new closer on Friday, but those plans never came to fruition.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirmed to local media in a conference call Friday that the Orioles would be moving on.
The Orioles will now be forced to look elsewhere on the free-agent market despite Balfour converting 62 of 67 save opportunities for the Athletics over the last two seasons. The options are dwindling with Fernando Rodney and Chris Perez topping the list of established closers who are still available.
Balfour had Tommy John surgery on his elbow in 2005, and he had surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his shoulder four months later, costing him the entire 2006 campaign. However, his track record since then has been relatively injury-free as he will be 36 at the end of the month.
The Orioles have a history of striking deals with free agents, only to have the physical hit a snag. Aaron Sele, Jeromy Burnitz, and Xavier Hernandez are among the notable names over the years, and the club had to restructure an agreement with right-handed pitcher Jair Jurrjens last offseason after lingering concerns over his knee.