Orioles have their closer: Grant Balfour

Orioles have their closer: Grant Balfour
December 17, 2013, 2:30 pm
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The Orioles finally have a replacement for Jim Johnson. On Tuesday afternoon, they reached agreement with Grant Balfour pending a physical examination by club doctors, according to an industry source.

Balfour’s deal is two years for $15 million with $1 million deferred.

On Dec. 2, the Orioles traded Johnson to Oakland because they were afraid that he might earn upwards of $10 million in arbitration.

Balfour left the Athletics after two years and 62 saves. He’ll be 36 on Dec. 30, and in 11 major league seasons with Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Oakland, Balfour is 28-17 with a 3.27 ERA.

There were reports that Balfour had better offers elsewhere, but liked the Orioles situation.

[RELATED: Roberts moves on to Yankees looking for postseason]

Balfour’s been a closer just two years. Prior to his two seasons with the Athletics, Balfour had 10 saves in eight seasons.

The Orioles’ bullpen could be a strength next season. With Balfour, Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day, Ryan Webb, Brian Matusz and Troy Patton, they’d need to have just a long man, and would have several candidates from Zach Britton, Steve Johnson, T.J. McFarland and Josh Stinson.

Terms of the deal were first reported by MASNsports.com.