Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Since 2008, Grant Balfour has appeared in at least 50 games each season. In 2012 he appeared in 75 games and last season 65 games (with a career high 38 saves). Durability has not been an issue. There is no history of nagging injuries or repeated stints on the disabled list. All of which made it surprising when the Baltimore Orioles backed out of their two year contract with the Australian closer.
In a conversation with Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (who used to cover Balfour on the A’s beat), the free-agent-once-again sounded off on the situation, including an account of the conversation he had with Orioles general manager Dan Duquette.
"“I’m 100 percent fine…My shoulder is fine, everything is fine. I’m ready to come out in the ninth inning, close games, do what I do…“…I called Dan Duquette and told him, “I’ve played in this league for 10 years, I deserve to be treated with respect and you did not treat me with respect. Two well respected physicians said I am completely healthy – because I am healthy. I’m a fighter and a winner and I would have given you your best chance to win.“I was looking forward to pitching for the Orioles and helping them to go to the World Series, where they haven’t been for 30 years…I wanted to help them as a team.”"
Things were bound to get personal in this case, because Balfour supposedly declined a three year deal elsewhere and settled for two with Baltimore because that is where he wanted to be. It is not surprising that he is a little hot under the collar about the issue and is considering filing a grievance against Baltimore. But for now, he will return his sights to free agency and Baltimore will resume their search for a closer to replace Jim Johnson.