Grant Balfour apparently could still end up in the American League East. The almost-Orioles closer reportedly is being considered by the Yankees.
The Yankees need a replacement for retired Mariano Rivera. At this point, it’s assumed that effective setup man David Robertson would fill the role. However, the New York Post reported that the club has shown interest in Balfour.
One consideration with the Yankees is the $189 million luxury tax threshold. With the club expected to enter the arms race for Japanese pitching star Masahiro Tanaka and still uncertain where it stands in regard to will-he-or-won’t-he-be-suspended Alex Rodriguez and his massive salary, the Yankees would have to be cautious about the size of a free-agent contract for Balfour.
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However, Balfour’s value almost certainly has been diminished by what happened with the Orioles. After agreeing to a two-year, $15 million contract, Balfour was found wanting by O’s doctors, who reportedly didn’t like the condition of the former A’s closer’s pitching shoulder. Though other doctors who have treated Balfour stepped forward to say they find him to be perfectly fine, you would have to think the seeds of doubt planted by the Orioles will bloom as a discount for whatever team ends up with Balfour.