Tag Archive | "grant balfour"

Orioles’ two-year deal with Balfour falls apart due to shoulder concerns

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Orioles’ two-year deal with Balfour falls apart due to shoulder concerns

Posted on 20 December 2013 by WNST Staff

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.

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Anyone have a place in Aruba and a hammock for Dan Duquette?

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Anyone have a place in Aruba and a hammock for Dan Duquette?

Posted on 18 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

I’m sure Dan Duquette needs a nap now after that flurry of activity over the last week or so of the hot stove season.

Last Friday, the Birds snatched away some guy named Mike something-or-other from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft.  He’ll need to hang around all year – like Flaherty (’12) and McFarland (’13) did – on the 25-man roster or else be offered back to Boston.  I’m sure Buck Showalter is just thrilled with only having a 24-man club to work with from April until September 1.

Yesterday, Duquette filled a hole he created two weeks ago when he brought Grant Balfour into the fold for two years to serve as the team’s closer.

Poor Dan.  He probably needs a massage and a follow-up appointment to make sure he’s not overheated.

So, it’s nearly Christmas.  The “new year” is just around the corner.  January quickly turns into February around here, particularly when the days and weeks are filled with furious discussion about the Ravens and their next playoff game.  Before you know it, the players start flowing into Sarasota for spring training.

In other words — the baseball season will be here soon.

Where are all the players who will help the Orioles win in 2014?

Balfour will help, we all assume.  Yes, he’s 36.  Yes, his numbers away from Oakland Coliseum spiked a bit, as expected.  And, yes, he’ll be closing games against the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees instead of the Mariners and Astros.  That said, Balfour is a much better option than Tommy Hunter would have been for the upcoming season.

So, we’ll check off on Balfour.

Next?

Ryan Flaherty and perhaps some guy you’ve never heard of named Jemile Weeks will likely compete for the starting second base job.  If Jonathan Schoop can get healthy and stay that way, he might get his hands dirty at 2B as well.  Make no mistake about it, though, this isn’t necessarily a position of strength for the Birds heading into 2014, despite the fact I personally believe Flaherty has the tools to be a “decent” everyday player.

Duquette publicly stated his off-season efforts would focus on a left-handed bat (a real one, presumably) and a left-fielder (again, I’m figuring he wanted a real one) to help produce more runs with players who understand the value of on-base percentage.

Nothing’s been done there yet.  On either account.

Yes, yes, yes, I know, the off-season haul DID include the signing of Francisco Peguero, a cast-off for the Giants who scorched the National League with a .200 batting average in his 35 career games over there.

Oh, and Nolan Reimold is back.

There’s no left-handed bat yet.

Plenty were available, but all of them make too much money for the Orioles in this “limited market” they supposedly occupy.

Are you ready for the return of Luke Scott?

You better be.

So, the off-season rolls on in Baltimore the way it usually does.  With promises, hopes and expectations — and nothing much to show for it once the presents have been unwrapped and the sunshine of Florida beckons in the not-so-distant-future.

Ticket prices increased, though.  And, the Orioles got about $30 million more in TV money to spend on players this year.  They’re not spending it, mind you, but they have it at their disposal.  So, they have that going for them, which is nice.

Things could change over the next 4-6 weeks.  Duquette could make a trade of some sort that fills one or two of the needs he stressed he was trying to fill earlier this month.  A free-agent still hanging around without a team might wind up saying “yes” to the Orioles in the days before spring training begins.

Yes, things COULD change.

But, they won’t.

Some things never change with the Orioles.

They aren’t willing to do what it takes to be a championship organization.

A fact, they’ve been proving – again – over the last six weeks since free agency began and teams who are trying to win took steps to do just that.

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Orioles agree to two-year, $15 million deal with closer Balfour

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Orioles agree to two-year, $15 million deal with closer Balfour

Posted on 17 December 2013 by WNST Staff

After shipping their own closer to Oakland in a trade earlier this month, the Orioles have elected to bring the Athletics’ former ninth-inning man into the fold.

On Tuesday, Baltimore agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal with 35-year-old pitcher Grant Balfour, who was a 2013 All Star and helped Oakland win the American League West in each of the last two seasons. The move comes less than three weeks after the Orioles dealt Jim Johnson to Oakland in what was viewed as a salary dump with the right-hander estimated to receive a $10 million salary in 2014, his final year of arbitration.

The deal is pending a physical.

Balfour had been seeking a three-year deal, but executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and the Orioles were uneasy with that contract length for a pitcher who will turn 36 at the end of the month. In addition to his time with Oakland, he has pitched for Minnesota, Milwaukee, and Tampa Bay in his 10-year career.

The right-hander spent the last three years in Oakland, collecting 64 saves and posting a 2.53 earned run average in 199 1/3 innings pitched. He was 1-3 with a 2.59 ERA and 38 saves in 41 opportunities

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