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Rays to sign closer Grant Balfour for 2 years, $12-million



The Rays will announce this afternoon they have signed closer Grant Balfour, the Times has learned. It is a two-year deal for $12-million.

Balfour will give the team a proven closer, replacing Fernando Rodney. Balfour had agreed to a two-year, $15-million deal earlier this off-season with Orioles, but the team pulled back due to concerns over his physical.

Balfour was an All-Star last season for Oakland, saving 38 games while posting a 1-3 record and 2,59 ERA.

The 36-year-old right-hander spent 2007-2010 with the Rays, establishing himself as a solid set-up man, then blossomed into a closer during three seasons with the A's.

At the All-Star Game this year in New York, Balfour, who still has a home in the Clearwater area,  told the Times he was open to returning to the Rays, albeit at the right price.

"I don't know what they got on their plate,'' Balfour said. "If they want to throw the checkbook at me, I'm there. I'm open to anything.''

After the Orioles deal collapsed, Balfour was upset and said he felt disrespected. His agents had several doctors - including Rays team orthopedist Koco Eaton - address the issue saying his shoulder was fine. A later report said the Orioles concerns were about his knee and wrist.

[Last modified: Friday, January 24, 2014 11:28am]


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