Written by Chris Slade
For the last week or so, it seemed as a matter of when not if the Orioles would sign former Oakland Athletics right-handed closer, Grant Balfour. Both sides have expressed mutual interest as the Orioles were apparently Balfour's team of choice, with the main holdup centering around Balfour's request for a three-year contract. According to Roch Kubatko (via Twitter), the wait is over as the Orioles and Balfour have settled on a two-year, $15MM pact with $500K deferred each year.
Balfour, 36, is coming off an all star campaign in 2013, his first full year as a closer, where he saved 38 of 41 opportunities while pitching to a 2.59 ERA in 62.2 innings. With Jim Johnson in Oakland and Grant Balfour in Baltimore, the O's and A's basically swapped closers this off-season. Balfour is coming off the better season and will earn somewhere between $3M and $4M less than Johnson would have in Baltimore, making him appear to be a much better value on paper for the Orioles. But, as we all know, the games are not played on paper. It should be interesting to compare how the two fare in their new respective cities in 2014.
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