One of the needs the New York Yankees still need to address for 2014 is the bullpen. They started off this week by addressing the lefty specialist role by signing Matt Thornton to a 2-year, $7 million deal. There is still a gaping hole at closer with the retirement of Mariano Rivera and the uncertainty surrounding David Roberton’s role. However, a name that was off the table a couple days ago is back in the running for the Yankees.
On Friday, Baltimore Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette announced in a conference call with reporters that the 2 year, $15 million deal that looked to be done on Thursdaywith free agent reliever Grant Balfour is now off. This is due to an undisclosed issue that took place during his physical.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweeted that the issue could be surrounding Balfour’s shoulder. However, he has not had any problems with his shoulder since September of 2005. There are reports that the Orioles are now pursing former Tampa Bay Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney to fill that closer role vacated by Jim Johnson, who was traded to the Athletics. Baltimore also found out today that lefty Troy Patton will be suspended 25 games due to testing positive for amphetamines. .
So, will Grant Balfour be heading to the Bronx? If the 2 year, $15 million option is still open, that could be a possibility. However, he was asking for a third year in negotiations with the Orioles. You have to be hesitant about issues involving physicals with any player. However, let’s remember that Red Sox’ first baseman Mike Napoli had hip issues come up last year that forced his deal to be re-adjusted. He showed no signs of injury during the season and was able to gain a longer deal with the Red Sox this offseason.
Right now, David Robertson would be the closer for the Yankees. If Masahiro Tanaka isn’t posted, the Yankees can look to use those dollars out there and Balfour could be a possibility. Keep it here at Yanks Go Yard for all the latest news surrounding this situation.