After a whirlwind of an offseason, closer Grant Balfour finally has a home – this after agreeing to a two-year, $12 million dollar deal with the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this week. It’s Balfour’s second stint in the Rays organization.
The addition of Balfour came somewhat of a shock considering earlier in the week we had heard the Washington Nationals had expressed relatively heavy interest in Balfour, who had signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles in free agency before the deal was eventually voided due to a failed physical.
However no deal was struck with the Nationals, who according to Adam Kilgore offered a contract nearly identical to the one Balfour signed in Tampa Bay. So why the Rays over the Nationals? Proximity to home, a defined closing role and no tax.
Was told the Nats’ offer was similar to Rays’ two-year, $12 million deal. Balfour chose proximity to home, definite chance to close, no tax.
Both the Nationals and Rays should be fighting for a playoff spot this season, so when it came down to the other factors, it appeared to be an easy decision.