Jobu weighs in on the situation involving Major League Reliever Grant Balfour.
For those of you who haven’t heard yet, there’s a situation with Grant Balfour. Early last week, it seemed like the big righty from down under was all ready to sign a two year, $15MM deal with the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles need a closer, as they traded away Jim Johnson, and it seemed they’d found a good one with Balfour. A couple of days later, the Orioles got back the results from Balfour’s physical and pulled the plug on the entire thing. So why do I want the Yankees to take a chance on this guy now that he’s, apparently, damaged goods?
Well, according to Balfour, he’s not injured at all and the Orioles are a bunch of lying jerks (not his actual words). According to Baltimore, he is hurt, and he’s a lying poopy head (possibly Peter Angelos’ actual words). OK so here’s what happened for real. Back in 2005, Balfour had reconstructive surgery on his shoulder and elbow and missed two full seasons (2005 and 2006). Since then, he hasn’t had any shoulder or arm injury problems at all. As part of his physical, Balfour took an MRI exam, during which the Orioles found whatever it is they didn’t like.
This is the controversy. Immediately after the deal fell through, Balfour announced that he’s healthy, and that two separate doctors had viewed his MRI from this week and compared it to the one he had for Oakland in 2011 (as part of his contract with them at the time). Neither of those doctors had found anything wrong with the shoulder. Balfour has continued to express the health of his shoulder, and the Orioles haven’t said a peep, which makes things very weird. They’re basically under attack by a player who is now considering filing a grievance with the Players Union, and they haven’s said anything to defend themselves? Odd strategy by GM Dan Duquette.
Anyway, whatever the reason, this should be a tremendous motivator for Balfour. His health and integrity have been called into question. He feels disrespected by the Orioles. He’s angry. He’s Australian. That’s not a knife, Orioles… This! Is a knife! Balfour has since received interest from four teams, and even claims to have an offer on the table from one of them, so it looks like he’s going to be OK after all.
The Yankees, meanwhile, need to add some late inning experience to their bullpen. This season alone, they lost Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and, of course, the great Mariano Rivera. While I think David Robertson can fill the closer role, replacing Robertson and Logan as setup men is going to be tough. They’ve already signed Matt Thornton to be the lefty specialist, but I would love someone else to help close that bridge (or be there to take over for Robertson if he falters). Balfour is a proven closer, which would make him a great option for the Yankees to use in either the eighth or ninth innings.
Balfour is going to be motivated to have a big season. Also, this medical controversy might adversely affect his monetary value. If I’m the Yankees, I don’t want him to sign with the Rays, who are one of the teams that have now expressed interest in the Aussie hurler. Every time he gets the ball, especially against the Orioles, he’s going to be looking to ram it down someone’s throat. We need that in our bullpen. Badly. Get it done, Brian Cashman. You might save a couple of bucks in the process.
Featured image courtesy of: Rob Carr/Getty Images
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