Grant Balfour has agreed on a 2-year deal worth $12 million with the Yankees’ division rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays. Balfour originally agreed to a 2-year $15 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles last month, before the Orioles claimed they didn’t like what they saw with the results of Balfour’s physical exam, and called off the deal. The Yankees had been rumored to be one of the teams in the mix for Balfour. Some suggested it was because the Yankees weren’t comfortable with David Robertson as their closer, but those rumors were put to rest with Owner Hal Steinbrenner proclaiming that Robertson will indeed be the Yankees closer this season.
So how exactly does this signing impact the Yankees? For one thing, it gives one of their division rivals a pitcher who’s been one of the most dominant relievers in the game the last couple of seasons. It also leaves the Yankees as of right now, without any reliable insurance in the bullpen, just in case Robertson does falter. While there is still the possibility that the Yanks could sign someone such as a Fernando Rodney, Balfour was without a doubt the best reliever left on the market, and this Yankees team could really use an extra arm in the pen. With the Yankees already well over the $189 threshold, to me, there is no reason for the Yankees not to go out and spend an extra $10-15 million on an arm like Rodney’s, that can put a jolt and really add something to this bullpen. They’ve already lost out on Balfour-again. So if the Yankees want some insurance for D-Rob, and if they want to upgrade the bullpen to the standard they’ve already upgraded the lineup and starting rotation to, they’ll sign at least one more arm before the offseason is finished.