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The Orioles Say “Bye Bye Balfour”

Grant Balfour had a 2.59 ERA and 38 saves with the A's last season.

Grant Balfour had a 2.59 ERA and 38 saves with the A’s last season.

So, it looks like the Balfour Rage will no longer be going to Baltimore. According the the Orioles, it has to do with All-Star closer Grant Balfour’s physical, but according to others, they just changed their minds and needed a way to get out of the contract… but hold on, I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the beginning of this week, the Orioles reported coming to a deal with closer Grant Balfour. The deal was for 2 years, $15 million pending a physical. In baseball, rarely does a deal not go through because a player’s physical is not to a team’s liking, especially when its about an All-Star closer who had one of the top closing percentages of all closer’s last season. But apparently, the O’s didn’t like the results.

O’s GM Dan Duquette had this to say about the deal falling through, “We would never say never or close the door, but we’re going to turn our attention elsewhere,” he told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, “We do our due diligent process on all the players before we sign them. And part of that is a medical review.”  But according to doctors and Balfour’s agent, nothing was wrong with Balfour at all, nothing.

Ray team physician Koco Eaten backed up Balfour, he says he examined the results of the physical and saw nothing out of the ordinary for a baseball player.  “It did not look normal compared to a person who does not play baseball for a living. But for someone who plays baseball for a living, it looked normal. There are abnormalities on the MRI as there are on every single baseball player’s. But three years ago, there was no issue, and he had pretty good performance when he was with Oakland.”

All of this came as a huge surprise to O’s fans who were excited to have the passionate closer come to Baltimore. It came as an even bigger surprise to Balfour himself. He told Susan SlusserI was looking forward to pitching for the Orioles and helping them to go to the World Series, where they haven’t been for 30 years. I wanted to help them as a team.”  

Now the biggest question is where will the 35-year-old pitch next season. His market value has undoubtedly decreased with this situation, “health problems.” Balfour wants to go to a contender, no doubt, but most teams looking to contend have locked up their closer by now. Meanwhile, the O’s have reportedly given a call to Fernando Rodney’s agent. Let’s hope he ends up somewhere where his passion and RAGE can be continued.

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