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So much for Balfour's return; deal with A's in place



So much for RHP Grant Balfour returning to the Rays.

Balfour agreed to an $8.1-million two-year deal with the A's that includes a 2013 option, pending a physical exam scheduled for Monday.

Also, another possibility to join the Rays lineup is off the board as DH Jim Thome re-signed with the Twins.

Balfour will be the sixth reliever to leave the Rays and sign elsewhere. They will get two draft picks for him, but because Oakland finished among the 15 worst teams, it's first-round picks is protected. Instead, the Rays would get another compensation pick between rounds one and two (their seventh), and Oakland's second-round pick.

Overall, the Rays would have three first-round picks, 10 before the start of the second round and 12 in the first two rounds.

Earlier this week, Balfour was considering a return to the Rays on a one-year deal, having been unable to land the multi-yeat contract he was seeking. With the A's offer including two guaranteed years, he apparently found it. The A's reportedly also agreed to not offer Balfour arbitration at the end of the deal, allowing him to become a free agent without compensation.

Here is who has gone where:

Grant Balfour      A's
Joaquin Benoit   Tigers
Randy Choate    Marlins
Chad Qualls       Padres
Rafael Soriano    Yankees
Dan Wheeler      Red Sox

The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser confirmed that Balfour has agreed to a multi-year deal with the A's,'s Jon Morosi first reported this morning Balfour was close to a deal, and ESPN's Buster Olney reported the salary information.

[Last modified: Sunday, February 13, 2011 12:15am]


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