Sunday, December 22, 2013


Look, the idea of Grant Balfour on the Yankees has mixed reviews.  Many like the guy. Others find him inconsistent and yet others believe that the idea of having a live wire like Balfour as our closer is not only the complete opposite of Mariano Rivera... it's also just not the right fit.

Now we all know what happened with the Orioles and Balfour.  Everything seemed to be going great, there was definitely an idea that Balfour would be an Oriole in no time flat. But then... nothing. In fact, there was concern about Balfour's shoulder, and in the 11th hour, the Orioles pulled out.  That made Balfour mad.

 Balfour and his agent then came out with a statement insisting he was healthy. Check this out:

“Grant is completely healthy and that was told to us today by Dr. Koco Eaton, a well-respected club physician. Dr. Eaton’s opinion is based upon the fact that the MRI which was taken today is the same as the MRI which was taken in 2011 as a condition of the 3-year contract that Grant signed with the A’s. Dr. Tim Kremchek, another well-respected club physician, reviewed the Orioles’ medical report and advised that he is remarkably impressed that there has been little change in Grant’s arm for almost 10 years. Now factor into the equation that Grant was a 2013 All Star, pitched 65 games and another 3 scoreless innings in the post season with a 94-95 mph fastball. The only reasonable conclusion is that Grant is healthy and the Orioles at the last moment changed their minds.

“Grant is an ALL STAR CLOSER who has converted 55 of 58 save opportunities. Talent wins at the end of the day and if a club wants to win then they need Grant coming out of the pen in the 9th inning”

And where are we now? Well, the Orioles have moved on, now aggressively pursuing Fernando Rodney, and the Tampa Bay Rays are looking closely at Grant Balfour.  Which now raises the question, are the Yankees going to go after a closer like Balfour, or are we going to hand David Robertson the keys?

I did some research, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says that Balfour, "... is attracting notice from several deep-pocketed potential contenders, including the Tigers and Yankees, according to a major-league source. Other interested teams include the Rockies, Angels and Balfour's former club, Tampa Bay."

In other words, the idea of the Yankees pursuing Balfour is "back on."

Let me state that I have no idea is Grant Balfour is truly healthy. I mean, the Orioles saw something that suggested Balfour wasn't so, unless the Yanks can get an inside look at those medical records, as well as getting some type of guarantee that he's not hurt, I'm not so sure this is a good idea. But then what? Are the Yankees even looking at a closer? Until Slusser's piece, I didn't see much about the Yankees looking for a stopper.

So, is Balfour a good option? Should the Yankees go for it, or is there another pitcher we should be looking at instead? It's a very good question, I mean, besides 2012, the Yanks haven't been without Mariano Rivera for a long, long time.  It's almost unsettling if you think about it.

Now, it's my guess that the silence the past week means the Yanks were indeed interested in perhaps making David Robertson be the guy. Some think that's great, others don't feel that he's ready.  And Balfour? Well, I would suggest that if he is truly healthy, the teams pursuing him this late in the off-season could have an interesting bidding war... I guess we'll just have to see.  My biggest concern though is who will fill Rivera's shoes?  Without him, it's a tightrope of uncertainty, something we're not used to.

Stay tuned for this one... that's for sure.

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