Pending a physical. It’s always the throw-in at the end of a report about a newly signed free agent, that little qualifier that must be included in to cover the bases. It’s almost never an actual issue.
Almost never. Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the pending agreement between closer Grant Balfour and the Baltimore Orioles might be one of those rare exceptions.
#orioles deal with Grant Balfour in serious jeopardy due to issues with physical that a source said “need to be resolved.”
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) December 20, 2013
This was presumably an unexpected development for all involved parties; Balfour made 65 appearances last season after making a career-high 75 in 2012. He spent no time on the disabled list either. What appeared to be a savvy move by the Orioles, swapping one year of Jim Johnson for infielder Jemile Weeks and Balfour for two years, might now be falling through the cracks. The Balfour signing was interesting for a couple reasons: it established the modest market for similar closers (Joaquin Benoit signed almost an identical contract with the San Diego Padres) and, in Baltimore’s case, it was part of a series of moves this off-season.
This type of news would be surprising no matter what, but it is especially noteworthy because it seems to have come from out of nowhere. Should be interesting to see how things develop.