According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, free agent closer Grant Balfour has signed with the Baltimore Orioles. The deal is for two years at seven million dollars per year with five hundred thousand dollars deferred each year.
balfour agrees with orioles, $14M for 2 years, pending physical. $500,000 deferred each year. @masnRoch had
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 17, 2013
Deferred part may be confusing. Total value of Balfour deal is $15 million, including the $500,000 deferred each year. #orioles
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) December 17, 2013
Balfour was an All-Star closer with the Oakland Athletics in 2013. He finished with 38 saves in 41 opportunities, and struck out 72 batters in 62.2 innings pitched. Balfour also had a 2.59 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 2013.
The signing of Balfour is interesting because the Orioles dealt their closer, Jim Johnson, to the A’s for second baseman Jemile Weeks and minor leaguer David Freitas a couple weeks ago. Johnson saved 50 games in 59 opportunities in 2013.
Sound off in the comments section to let me know which team is better off. Balfour will be turning 36 later this month, and Johnson turns 31 in June. Age probably shouldn’t be a factor because both players are relief pitchers, but I would always error on the side of the younger player if I had a choice.