Rays sign Grant Balfour to two-year deal

Steve Kinsella

The Thunder from Down Under is returning to the lighting capital of the United States.

Grant Balfour has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays on a two year deal, first reported by Andrew Rickli and confirmed by SB Nations own Chris Cotillo and Ken Rosenthal.

According to Jeff Passan, it will be for two years, and $12 million.

So, it appears that the Orioles medical staff cost Balfour $3 million dollars. I hope they were wrong. I know that Balfour will now pitch super-angry on all his trips to Baltimore.

There will be, and already has been a lot of talk about Balfour as a proven closer. Ignore that. The point is not that Balfour, Juan Carlos Oviedo, and Heath Bell are proven closers. The point is that they have the ability to be very good relief pitchers. Last year, Balfour struck out nearly 27% of the batters he faced, while walking 10%. For the past four years he's posted ERAs under 3.00, with FIPs and xFIPs in the mid 3.00s.

This is big news, and welcome, because many of us still have fond memories of Balfour's time here, and because he's still the type of player who can help the team win. It makes trading Alex Torres easier. Still, is it worth a big pre-announced press conference with the owner and president of the team? I think there's another shoe yet to drop.

Update 1:51:

Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune confirms that Balfour's signing is not what's to be announced in the upcoming 4:15 press conference.

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