Tampa, FL - According to Jim Bowden of ESPN, the Tampa Bay Rays have begun showing interest in signing relief pitcher Grant Balfour after his deal with Baltimore fell through due to physical concerns. Balfour had originally come to a two-year, $15 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays have been looking to improve their bullpen all offseason, and this move would go a long ways towards doing just that.
In 65 games with the Oakland Athletics last season, Balfour registered a 2.59 ERA to go along with 72 strikeouts and 38 saves. Balfour is 35 years old and still has a few good years left in him for Tampa Bay should they wind up signing him.
The Rays would be signing Balfour to be their closer after they lost Fernando Rodney to free agency. While Balfour did get that $15 million over two year offer from the Orioles, it remains to be seen what their health concerns about him will do to his value now that he is on the open market once again. These rumors appear to be picking up steam and the Rays could be closing in on a deal that will bring Balfour to Tampa Bay.
Overall, this would be a very good move to help the Rays build their team back into a contender. The most important need for them has been their closing role, so this is a much needed move as well. Balfour is a quality closer and has put up the stats on the diamond to prove himself as well. That being said, there is still time for another team to swoop in and steal Balfour away from the Rays. Stay tuned as more information will begin coming out over the next day or two regarding Balfour’s next team.
Evan Massey is the Lead Editor for Pro Sports Extra. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.