Baltimore, MD, United States (4E Sports) – Baltimore Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette announced that their deal with free-agent closer Grant Balfour is off after a snag in the players’s physical exam.
The Orioles had agreed to terms with the 35-year-old Balfour on a two-year, $15-million deal Tuesday pending the physical.
“The Orioles are disappointed we couldn’t complete the contract with Grant Balfour, and the reason for that was the club wasn’t satisfied with the results of the pre-employment physical exam,” said Duquette.
He wouldn’t discuss the specific concern the team had with Balfour’s physical.
But The Baltimore Sun said the issue was with Balfour’s surgically repaired right shoulder, which underwent labrum and rotator cuff surgery in 2005 and forced him to miss the entire 2006 season.
The Orioles are turning to other options to replace closer Jim Johnson, who was traded to the Oakland Athletics on Dec. 2.
Duquette said they are looking to the free-agent market, and possibly a trade.
He said he’d also like to add another hitter, as well as a starting pitcher, and he indicated that the possibility that the Orioles look to an internal option as their next closer is more likely than ever.
“I want to point out that most of these closers like Jim Johnson two years ago, they come to the team as reliable bullpen pitchers and then the manager and the player shows he can handle more responsibility, gives them more responsibility at the end of the game,” Duquette said.
He wouldn’t completely rule out approaching Balfour again down the road.
Balfour, 35, had a 2.59 ERA in 62.2 innings in 38 games last season for the Oakland Athletics last season. Last year was his first as a full-time closer, though he did close for the A’s some in 2012. He blew only five saves the past two seasons. Throughout his 10-year career, he has an ERA of 3.27.
The Australian mostly depends on a four-seam fastball and a slider. He’s known for his “rage” on the mound as he yells and swears at himself during games.