After the Orioles pulled out of a two-year, $15 million deal with Grant Balfour over concerns with his physical, the former Athletics closer is seeking a new deal. The Yankees are said to be among the teams interested in Balfour now that he is back on the market. That would, of course, send David Robertson back to his role in the eighth inning.
Balfour is adamant that he is healthy, despite the fact that Orioles team doctors did not like the state of his shoulder during his physical. After trading Jim Johnson to Oakland, Baltimore was in need of a closer and seemed to have found one in Balfour before the deal fell apart. It's possible that the Orioles were being overly cautious before handing out a multi-year deal to a 36-year-old reliever, but the possibility remains that Balfour's shoulder could be a concern.
With the news out there to teams that Balfour's physical was the cause of his deal falling apart with the O's, interested teams could possibly bring in Balfour on a discount. The Yankees do have the luxury of having Robertson to fill in in case Balfour's physical concerns do manifest, but it also seems like it might not be the best way to allocate resources. Robertson has been one of the best relievers in baseball for multiple seasons while studying under Mariano Rivera. Is it really smart to spend top dollar on a "proven closer" when Robertson could only become one of those if given the chance?
Over the course of the last two seasons, Balfour has successfully converted 62 of 67 save attempts. For a team that is used to having the best closer ever shutting down the competition late in games, that kind of success rate may be enough for them to take out a ninth inning insurance policy once again. With the bullpen departures of Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan, and the retirement of Rivera, the Yankees may see Balfour as a great fit to fill out those vacancies at a discount.
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