September 18, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour (50) reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Josh Hamilton (32, not pictured) during the ninth inning at O.co Coliseum. The Angels defeated the Athletics 5-4 in 11 innings. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Rizzo could ‘strengthen a strength’ for Nationals with Grant Balfour


Grant Balfour may not be straying too far from the East Coast.

In an interview with MLB Network, Washington Nationals’ General Manager Mike Rizzo indicated that continuing to add late-inning bullpen options is not out of the question. Although he never directly answered the questions concerning the club’s interest in the Australian Balfour, Rizzo hearkened to last year and mentioned being able to ‘strengthen a strength’ in the Nats’ bullpen.

Last year, the closer options in Washington seemed to be fairly set with Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, but then Rafael Soriano signed with the club after closing for the New York Yankees for two-years and $28 million with a vesting option for 2015 if 120 games were finished. Currently, Soriano has 58 Games Finished for the Nationals.

The signing of Grant Balfour could provide the team with closing depth and an option post-Soriano, obviously, but he may also be used as a way to ensure that Soriano does NOT finish the necessary 62 games needed to vest his option.

Balfour, who stood out with the Oakland Athletics as their closer for the last two seasons, finished his tenure on the West Coast with 64 games saved with a 2.53 ERA over 199.1 IP. Earlier in the off season, the Baltimore Orioles had a 2-year, $15 million contract ready for the 36-year-old to sign, but MRI issues surrounding his knee and wrist put a halt to that deal.

Tags: Washington Nationals