Orioles rumors: Grant Balfour signing two-year, $15 million contract with O's, pending physical

Ezra Shaw

Free agent closer Grant Balfour is "close" to signing a two-year contract with the Orioles on Tuesday, according to Ken Rosenthal.

The saga of the Orioles' pursuit of free agent closer Grant Balfour may finally be winding to a conclusion:

All along, it's seemed a question of whether Balfour or the O's would blink first regarding an option year of some kind for a third year. If this is the case, then it looks like Balfour was the one to blink.

Reports over the weekend from people who may or may not have known what they are talking about indicated that Balfour could get in the realm of $7 million per year. So the Orioles basically get Grant Balfour and Ryan Webb for Jim Johnson. There is some value in getting the extra year of Balfour guaranteed, if Balfour turns out to be a guy who you want for two years.

MASN's Roch Kubatko reports that those people may have known what they are talking about:

The $1 million deferred is not included in the $14 million, so Balfour will get $15 million in total from this contract. The contract appears to be a done deal, pending a physical.

One thing that may be encouraging is the idea that Balfour eschewed a better offer because he liked the O's situation the best:

That's from an Athletics beat writer who has covered Balfour for the past three seasons. There were reports that at least one team was offering an option year for a third year, but it seems Balfour likes the O's chances better than that other team. We are living in strange times where the O's are seen as the more competitive free agent option by anyone.

Over the last three seasons in Oakland, Balfour pitched 199.1 innings, managed a 2.53 ERA and 1.043 WHIP while striking out over a batter per inning but giving up walks at a rate of 3.4 per nine innings. He also allowed his share of home runs, if not a Matuszian number of home runs. How his stuff will play in Camden Yards makes me nervous, but then, I'm still waiting for Jesus Montero to hit a walk-off home run in that 18-inning marathon game in Seattle last year.

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