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Rays' Press Conference Announces Grant Balfour Signing

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Grant Balfour, everybody's favorite Aussie, is back in Tampa Bay.

USA TODAY Sports

The brass of the Tampa Bay Rays were on hand this afternoon at the Rays Sponsor Summit to announce the signing of free agent closer Grant Balfour.

Balfour, 36, agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the Rays as owner Stu Sternberg, team president Matthew Silverman and manager Joe Maddon were on hand to introduce the newest member of the Rays.

Sternberg called this move a "big deal" for the Rays and he expects Balfour to have success in the late innings this season.

Last season, Balfour saved 38 games in 41 chances with a 2.59 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings for the Oakland Athletics. Earlier in the off season, it was reported that Balfour would sign with the Baltimore Orioles, but after a controversy surrounding a failed physical, the Orioles distanced themselves from Balfour.

Just how much did Balfour want to return back to the Rays?

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Sources: <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Mets&amp;src=hash">#Mets</a> made offer to Balfour that exceeded <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Rays&amp;src=hash">#Rays</a>’ two-year, $12M bid. Balfour preferred to be closer to his home in Clearwater, Fl.</p>&mdash; Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/statuses/426446263069204481">January 23, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Balfour: &quot;At the end of the day, I want to be here in Tampa.&quot; <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Rays&amp;src=hash">#Rays</a></p>&mdash; Steve Carney (@stevecarney) <a href="https://twitter.com/stevecarney/statuses/426465329934368768">January 23, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Balfour is expected to replace Fernando Rodney as the team's primary closer and will wear the No. 50 jersey in 2014.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Maddon jokes &quot;we are going to use the c word&quot; referring to how they rarely anoint a closer. No doubt Balfour is the guy.</p>&mdash; Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) <a href="https://twitter.com/TBTimes_JSmith/statuses/426464765771526144">January 23, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Welcome back, Grant. We sure did miss you in Tampa Bay.

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