Just when you thought the Orioles were in on a free agent, they pull themselves back out of the chase. The two-year, $15 million contract with free agent closer Grant Balfour is dead, Dan Duquette told reporters on a conference call Friday afternoon.
Duquette: "There's not a lot the team can say publicly. We're not going to get into the particulars of what the club's concerns were."— Paul Folkemer (@PaulWFolk) December 20, 2013
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported on Thursday night that the sticking point was believed to involve Balfour's shoulder, on which he had surgery for rotator cuff and labrum issues back in 2005.
It's not an ideal situation for either side of the negotiation, as Balfour hits the market again with diminished leverage and value and the Orioles now have to cast about for a closer again. Well, they don't have to cast about for a closer, but they seem hell-bent on acquiring a closer via free agency or trade, so about all we can do is hope that they don't pay too much money over too many years to someone who sucks.
On that note, the number one speculated name regarding a Balfour replacement - can you replace something you never had? - is Fernando Rodney. Are you ready for that arrow firing celebration to take root in Camden Yards? No, I'm not ready either. I'm also not ready for Chris Perez.
The O's have the reputation for having serious scrutiny in their physicals they administer to players. That's one of those things that the media all repeat without ever saying why. What makes an Orioles physical so different from any other team's? No team wants to sign a player who will then have his performance deteriorate. No media outlet criticized the Red Sox for how they handled things with Mike Napoli last year.
Anyway, whatever the reason, we can all forget about Balfour now.