A lot of ground was covered in the ongoing drama between free agent Grant Balfour and the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. In short, we learned the Orioles were reneging on their two-year, $15 million agreement after concerns over Balfour's shoulder were raised during the pre-signing physical exam. Balfour’s camp quickly responded by stating two independent doctors had reviewed Balfour’s medicals and determined he was perfectly healthy. It was also reported Balfour and his agents were considering filing a grievance against Baltimore.
With all of that said, the always intense Balfour actually took a laid back approach after Orioles general manager Dan Duquette confirmed the deal was off.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 20, 2013
But before the night was through, he couldn’t resist from calling Duquette personally to express his frustration. Here’s how that conversation played out as told by Balfour to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I called Dan Duquette and told him, “I’ve played in this league for 10 years, I deserve to be treated with respect and you did not treat me with respect. Two well respected physicians said I am completely healthy – because I am healthy. I’m a fighter and a winner and I would have given you your best chance to win."
“I was looking forward to pitching for the Orioles and helping them to go to the World Series, where they haven’t been for 30 years,” Balfour continued. “I wanted to help them as a team.”
At least that’s the clean version of what was said. Unfortunately, nobody was recording the conversation so we could hear if Balfour’s well-documented ‘rage’ displayed on the pitching mound spilled into the conversation. We’ll assume it didn’t since it appears Duquette allowed him to say his piece. Then again, Balfour says he never did receive a complete explanation as to why the Orioles removed the offer, so maybe it was quicker than he lets on.
Regardless, it sounds like this phone call will serve as the final direct communication between the two sides until a potential grievance is heard. In fact, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown, the Orioles’ had already moved on to other targets, including former Rays closer Fernando Rodney, by the time the call was made. Meanwhile, the Rays are reportedly among the teams zeroing in on Balfour‘s services.
In the end, both Balfour (a closer’s job) and Orioles (a closer) will probably end up getting what they want, but it will be interesting to see if either side can find a fit that’s as good as they appeared to be for each other.
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