The Baltimore Orioles had thought they had found their replacement for Jim Johnson when they agreed to terms with free agent closer Grant Balfour to a two-year, $15 million deal, but now that deal is in jeopardy due to Balfour's physical results.
MASN's Roch Kubatko first broke the story yesterday, and you can view his report here.
Baltimore was supposed to introduce him today with a press conference at Camden Yards, but that press conference does not seem to be happening, at least not yet.
The Orioles are expected to address the questions about the physical some time today, but Kubatko reports that the issue evidently involves Balfour's right shoulder. Something, apparently, was revealed on the X-rays that has caused a concern, but again we should know more today.
Since the Orioles and Balfour came to terms, the closer's market has shrunk quite a bit as John Axford and Joaquin Benoit have come off the market since then, and the only two real closer free agents available are Fernando Rodney and Chris Perez, neither of which seem to overly excite the Orioles.
Just because the agreed deal may be in jeopardy, it doesn't mean that the Orioles signing Balfour is off the table. Last offseason we saw the Red Sox back out of a deal with Mike Napoli after the results of his physical, but in the end still signed there, just to a different contract.
The same thing could happen here with the Orioles and Balfour. If Grant still wants to sign here, the two sides could agree to a lesser contract, especially since the market for Balfour will like be much lower now that this has come out.
Either way, we will learn more about this as the day goes on, and we will keep you up to date!
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