Let me preface this by saying that I recognize that we had a major holiday fall last week in Christmas, and that there’s another major holiday this coming week in New Years. So it’s safe to say that most of the baseball world has been hibernating for the past few days, and will be doing so for the next few as well. However the fact is that Grant Balfour remains on the open market after his contract with the Baltimore Orioles was unexpectedly voided. Just before Christmas last week Balfour said on MLB Network radio that he had drawn interest from a few teams, but wouldn’t talk specifics.
I suppose my point here is that it’s interesting to me that he hasn’t signed with another team as of yet. Many will argue that the reasoning for that is because the Orioles have “unfairly tarnished” his reputation, making it tougher for him to find a deal that he wants. However even given the fact that there was a holiday involved in the time frame, had I been a baseball executive and a closer like Balfour stumbled back onto the market I’d try to get him signed ASAP – even if it was Christmas Eve.
Again, the point here is that perhaps Balfour’s health isn’t quite as cut and dry as him and his agent were making it out to be. Perhaps it is for all I know…I certainly haven’t seen the results of his physical, and even if I had I wouldn’t know what they mean because I’m not a doctor. However it might well be fair to point out that a few doctors jumped the gun in vouching for Balfour. Several physicians who had examined Balfour in the past (as far back as 2005 in fact) were saying that he was fine. And yet…the Orioles were painted as the bad guys here?
Ultimately the point is that it’s just interesting to me that we haven’t heard anything more from or about Balfour since the deal with the Orioles fell through. Dr. Koko Eaton of the Tampa Rays allegedly did his own MRI on Balfour and said he was fine; Tampa is also a team that is interested in Balfour. Yet Balfour hasn’t signed with Tampa. Interesting to say the least. Again, many people will point to the Christmas and New Years holidays as the reason why Balfour hasn’t signed. Maybe they’re right for all I know, however if a closer like Balfour was suddenly on the market again I know I’d try to scoop him up ASAP if I was in the market for a closer - PROVIDED that Balfour was healthy.
And as I said above, others will claim that he’s now tarnished goods thanks to the Orioles. Perhaps he is for all I know; the guy could be as healthy as anyone. However the fact that three doctors (one of whom is not affiliated with the team in any way) raised red flags is something that should give people pause. I’ve gotten tweets from numerous readers asking me if I was willing to discount the fact that the owner just didn’t want to pay Balfour. I suppose that nothing’s impossible. However please keep in mind that for that to be the case those doctors would have had to falsify their findings on the physical, an offense which mind you could be punishable by revoking their licenses and/or by jail. I think we’re giving Peter Angelos a heck of a lot of credit if we’re going to believe that doctors were willing to compromise themselves for that reason.