Balfour finally gets a deal, goes to Rays

Balfour finally gets a deal, goes to Rays
January 23, 2014, 1:45 pm
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Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour (50) and catcher Derek Norris (36) celebrate after game three of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Oakland won 6-3.

(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Orioles fans may be seeing a lot more of Grant Balfour than they want. The Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly reached agreement on a two-year, $12 million contract with the reliever.

Balfour returns to Tampa Bay, where he pitched from 2007-10. He also lives there, which is a plus for him.

On Dec. 20, Balfour’s agreement with the Orioles collapsed when the Orioles found issues with his physical. Rays team physician Dr. Koko Eaton disputed that the reports of shoulder problems with Balfour. Later, there were reports that Orioles physicals found issues with his knee and wrist.

Balfour had a two-year, $15 million offer from the Orioles, who thought he’d replace Jim Johnson.

Tommy Hunter will serve as the Orioles closer for now unless the club reverses course and decides to make a late pursuit of Fernando Rodney, who was the Rays’ closer the last two years.

Balfour was linked this week with the Nationals, but there was no word that an offer was ever made.

With Masahiro Tanaka’s signing, one of the remaining frontline starters has reportedly reached agreement. Matt Garza has a reported four-year, $52 million deal with Milwaukee.

The Orioles were never a serious contender for Garza.

Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana remain on the market. Many suitors are deterred because they’ll lose a draft pick in return for signing them.