July 24, 2014

MLB Rumors: Indians interested in closer Grant Balfour

The Cleveland Indians have talked to free agent  closer Grant Balfour, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

The Tribe recently parted ways with closer Chris Perez and has been linked to new potential closers for the 2014 season. The Austrailian Balfour has also reportedly been drawing interest from the Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Angels and his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Balfour registered a 2.59 ERA and 72/27 K/BB ratio in 62 2/3 innings this past season for the Athletics, saving 38 games. The 35-year old has thrown at least 55 innings every season since 2008, and has struck out 514 batters through 473 career innings.

Per ESPN’s Buster Olney, Perez is on hand in Orlando for the MLB winter meetings, taking in meetings face-to-face rather than sending representation.

[Related: MLB News: Indians sign free agent first baseman David Cooper]

  • Kildawg

    Balfour is a solid veteran reliever that can hold down the closer’s role and help the Tribe save arbitration money via Shaw and Allen. Another in-house closing candidate is Matt Capps, and he fits what the Indians like to do.

  • Fern

    pure rage out, balfour rage in. if for no other reason, do it for that Metallica entrance!

  • woofersus

    Good call. A healthy Capps will be a nice addition, closer or not.

  • whosevelt

    It’s pathetic how I have an obsessive need to point this out every time the good folks at WFNY report an Indians rumor; but if the Indians can afford him, it’s not interesting.

  • Steve

    If he costs close to $10M, there isn’t any money being saved.

  • mgbode

    you end up overpaying for established closers when there are very few such things in the world. I say you bank on a guy with great peripherals and a high SO rate who might be able to handle it (or multiple such guys). enter Jesse Crain (note: in the 12 days thread, I forgot he had shoulder issues in the past, it should dampen his market enough to go with a 2year deal but for less money. perhaps $6mil w/ incentives to $10mil).

  • Kildawg

    I personally wouldn’t go over $7M/year for Balfour, or any closer on the market for that matter. Closers making over the figure I mentioned seem to, well, not perform to expectations. See Wood, Kerry and Perez, Chris (2013 edition)

  • Kildawg

    Also fits the Indians mold of bringing a guy in that has had arm/shoulder, etc. issues on incentive-laden deals. Examples include: Millwoood (2005), Pavano, and recently Kazmir.

  • Steve

    You probably don’t get Balfour for under $7M. And even then, you’re probably not saving more than $7M, all told, in arb money if Allen or Shaw were to rack up the save totals.

    And I’d say there are more hits than misses when you pay for a reliever. I’m not sure they’re worth it, considering you can frequently get more than enough out of pre-arb guys, but the list is pretty full of success stories.

    https://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/league-info/highest-paid-players/

  • ToxicToast

    Balfour would be a great closer, but my opinion of signing him is totally dependent on the results of the search for a starting pitcher. Until the Indians get the starter they’re on the record as looking for, I think every dollar is better spent in that pursuit.

  • scripty

    few people I dislike in sports now more than Balfour. woof.

  • Jason Hurley

    I’m sorry, but, no. You don’t spend multiple millions of dollars for a guy like Balfour when you’ve got bullpen arms on the roster already. Spend that cash on a starter or a power bat.