It had looked like the Baltimore Orioles had found their new closer in Oakland A's veteran Grant Balfour, as they had signed him to a two-year, $16 million deal, but that fell through this week due to the Orioles not liking what they saw in the medicals for Balfour.
Now with Balfour back on the market and with a declaration that he is healthy, teams are trying to acquire the 35-year-old closer and one of them may in fact be the New York Yankees, who are looking for bullpen help due to the retirement of Mariano Rivera.
Kevin Kiernan of the New York Post reported on Monday night that the Yankees are in fact interested in the former Oakland closer for bullpen help at either the setup man or to be the closer in 2014.
"According to industry sources, the Yankees have shown some interest in closer Grant Balfour, whose two-year deal with the Orioles disintegrated. Balfour has converted 62 of 67 save opportunities the last two years. The fiery right-hander was all set to be the Orioles closer until, according to Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette, the team’s doctors did not like what they saw concerning his shoulder during his physical. Balfour contended he has been examined by some of the top orthopedists in the game and has been given a clean bill of health."
The Yankees still aren't sure if they want to make setup man David Robertson the closer for the 2014 season since he has struggled in his limited chances in closing situations, so the interest in Balfour makes a lot of sense on a short-term deal so that they could either split time with the closing duties or Balfour could be the closer for a year or two while Robertson remains the setup man.
Along with Rivera's retirement, the Yankees lost Joba Chamberlain to the Detroit Tigers on a one-year deal and Boone Logan to the Colorado Rockies on a three-year deal, but they did add Matt Thornton on a two-year deal, but the Yankees need to find other arms to replace the ones they lost from a year ago.
Balfour was an American League All Star with the Oakland A's last season and converted 62 out of 67 saves with Oakland over the last two seasons. Balfour became expendable to the team when they traded for Orioles closer Jim Johnson, thus ending Balfour's tenure with the team.
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