Orioles nix two-year deal with pitcher Grant Balfour amid health concerns

Big League Stew

Looking forward to watching Grant Balfour rage out in Baltimore? Not so fast. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette confirmed on Friday that the Orioles have nixed their deal with free-agent Grant Balfour.

Reports on Thursday indicated the two-year, $15 million deal agreed to earlier in the week was in jeopardy. Now, it's dead altogether. Duquette told reporters — including Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports — the following:

"The Orioles were disappointed that we couldn't complete a contract with Grant Balfour," Duquette said. "The reason is the club's not satisfied with the results of the physical exam. We would never say never or close the door, but we're turning our attention elsewhere for now to look at some other options to try to staff our team and try to building a contending team for 2014."

This is why new contracts are always "pending physical." The Baltimore Sun reported the issue is with Balfour's shoulder. Balfour, 35, saved 38 games for the A's last season. Baltimore is looking to replace Jim Johnson, whom it traded the A's earlier this offseason.

The O's still could sign Balfour to a reduced contract. We saw a similar thing happen last season with the Red Sox and Mike Napoli, who later agreed to a one-year deal. Now, the Orioles are said to have turned their attention toward another free-agent closer, Fernando Rodney, ex of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Balfour news is the second blow to the Baltimore bullpen Friday. Left-hander Troy Patton was suspended 25 games by MLB after testing positive for an amphetamine and thus violating the league's drug policy.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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