Get ready to rage, Baltimore.
The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a two-year deal with pitcher Grant Balfour to become their new closer. He'll make $15 million total — $7 million per year, plus $500,000 deferred from each season. Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com was first to report the deal was done. Balfour and the O's had been linked for the past week.
Balfour, 35, is an Australian who saved 38 games last season for the Oakland Athletics. He had a 2.59 ERA in 62.2 innings. Last year was his first as a full-time closer, though he did close for the A's in some of 2012. He blew only five saves the past two seasons. Throughout his 10-year career, he has an ERA of 3.27.
He mostly depends on a four-seam fastball and a slider. But he's probably better known for his "rage" on the mound. He yells and swears at himself during games. You'll recall that it led to a benches-clearing confrontation with Victor Martinez when the A's and the Detroit Tigers met in the ALCS. The "Balfour Rage" made him a fan favorite in Oakland, where they raged with him as he came in to close a game.
In effect, the A's and Orioles have now swapped closers, with the A's already acquiring Baltimore's previous closer Jim Johnson in a trade. Johnson, however, will make roughly $10.8 million this season in arbitration. So, as Jason Collette of Fangraphs notes, the Orioles acquired second baseman Jemile Weeks from the A's, signed Balfour and signed pitcher Ryan Webb for about the same amount of cash.
Looks like the Orioles turn the $10.8M they would have paid Johnson into Balfour, Webb, & Weeks. Well played
— jasoncollette (@jasoncollette) December 17, 2013
Plus whatever they make from bottling the Balfour rage and selling it around Baltimore.
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