Kernan: Yankees have renewed interest in Grant Balfour


Via Kevin Kernan: The Yankees have shown some interest in right-hander Grant Balfour after his two-year contract with the Orioles fell apart. They had interest in him earlier this offseason as well. Baltimore didn’t like something they found in Balfour’s shoulder during the pre-signing physical and walked away.

I wrote about potentially swooping in to sign Balfour at a discounted rate over the weekend. The Yankees need bullpen help, specifically late-inning bullpen help, and he’d be a really nice addition as long as he’s healthy. That’s not a given but two doctors have checked him out since the fiasco with the O’s and insist he’s healthy. Besides, whoever signs Balfour at this point will perform a super-thorough physical of their own anyway.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League
  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    IF they can swoop in, and IF both the asking price and his expecations have lowered a bit, then all night and day here.

    • PeterWRusso

      I feel the Balfour move would be a great pick up for the Yankees. Baltimore claimed to find something and cancelled out. point is a super physical will be performed to prove right or wrong.

      • I’m One

        Price and his expectation of his role on the team need to be considered. I wouldn’t guarantee him the closer role.

        • I’m One

          Disclaimer: The Yankees, for some reason, rarely consult me on these kinds of decisions, so this is simply my opinion. :-)

    • podjoe

      Yanks need Balfour, they still have a few openings on the DL for next year

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    “Industry Sources”


  • Grant

    If he’s as tough as his brother “Eddie the Eagle” than he can play through any injury. Ha ha.

  • Rev-olution

    Phelps needs to remain a spot starter and the primary long reliever.

    The truth is for the Yanks to get to the postseason with the challenges of grinding it out vs. the other AL East powerhouses, the top 3 SP’s MUST average 13-15 Wins and the 4 & 5 holes need to average 9-10 W’s. To make the playoffs, 90-92 W’s is a must and at least 60-65 of those absolutely must come out of the rotation.

    To ensure the best chance of that, CC needs to overcome ’13 (which he will), Kuroda needs to pace himself through a grinding obligation of 27-30 starts and Nova needs to stay on course with his impressive development.

    Probably most important, 25 y.o. Michael Pineda MUST prove he is recovered and effective – the NYY needs at least Pettitte-level production out of him NOW! If he can regain some of the dominance he displayed in his rookie campaign, that will become a huge residual benefit.

    The great unknown will be the 5-hole, which I think the Yanks must take a gambled “high risk/high reward” posture on. Johan Santana; or some other seemingly “chancey” LHP (for rotation balance) should be aggressively; yet prudently; pursued.

    An interesting aside would be to aggressively pursue (now bitterly motivated) Grant Balfour and use him as a 2-year “John Wetteland” type bridge to give Robertson a little more seasoning to slide into Mo’s ENORMOUS Closer’s vacancy. Mentally and emotionally, the Yanks need to safeguard Robertson’s transition in the closer role because if he has any failure in the season AFTER Mo’s retirement, the outcry from the fan base could prove discouraging, if not destructive. Bringing in Balfour, who has the constitution of a Bull Elephant and the tenacity of a tiger, would help the fans (and the club) create some distance from the significant loss of a legend while still getting great save performances. It would also setup Robertson to take over the role in ’15 or ’16 with less direct comparison to the legacy of Mariano. The beginning of a new era will be more palatable for all concerned. Plus, the addition of Balfour would bolster the backend of the pitching corps with solid performances from Phelps, Thornton, Robertson and Balfour (with Cabral, Banuelos, Adams and possibly Nuno or even Betances filling out the squad).

    The offensive side of the team is pretty solid for a title run. Possibly adding Michael Young (preferred) or Mark Reynolds (the K’s outweigh the HR potential) should be the last addition unless the NYY are sure the suspension of ARod is upheld, then; AND ONLY THEN; should they consider maybe going after Drew. The “189” busting expense shouldn’t be done unless Alex isn’t coming back in ’14 (in which case, it is probably safe to assume that the team will be ALL-IN to possibly over-compensate to have the best chance of making the postseason).

    Note: all of this is moot if Tanaka is posted and the NYY acquires his services. If this happens, Pineda would prospectively be a stellar #5. Being a pragmatic optimist, I do believe Rakuten is going to post him this week and with the Rangers committed to Choo, the only realistic challenge to the Yanks presumed offer to Tanaka would be the Dodgers. There is no other option that can go toe-to-toe cash-wise, global exposure-wise, marketing-wise and internal “advocacy” (“Godzilla”, Ichiro, Kuroda) to outdo the Yanks. LAD is the closest competitor in these terms and given the additions of McCann, Ellsbury and Beltran, the team is demonstrably committed to being championship-caliber.

    To say the least, this has been a very interesting Hot Stove season and it could get better.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      “An interesting aside would be to aggressively pursue (now bitterly motivated) Grant Balfour and use him as a 2-year “John Wetteland” type bridge to give Robertson a little more seasoning to slide into Mo’s ENORMOUS Closer’s vacancy. Mentally and emotionally, the Yanks need to safeguard Robertson’s transition in the closer role because if he has any failure in the season AFTER Mo’s retirement, the outcry from the fan base could prove discouraging, if not destructive. Bringing in Balfour, who has the constitution of a Bull Elephant and the tenacity of a tiger, would help the fans (and the club) create some distance from the significant loss of a legend while still getting great save performances.”

      Just WOW.

      David Robertson is apparantly an emotional toddler, and Grant Balfour can barely keep his balls in his pants. Gotcha.

      The W/L allotment amongst starters is, sure, ideal, but isn’t necessary.

      An extremely effective Pineda would certainly be welcome, but any plan replying on the 4/5 on internal and low-cost options puts in an inordinate amount of pressure on, yes, CC and Kuroda but, especially, Ivan Nova to show consistency as, not just an MLB starter, but a mid-to-front-end MLB starter.

      You’re too worried about 189. Get you need to get and be done with it.

      • mike

        Robertson didn’t exactly blow anyone away when he has tried to close games before, and when the data shows the difference between a premium closer and an ordinary closer is 4-5 games a year ( not all losses, but blown saves/ losses etc) a team like the Yanks – where the bullpen is not going to be a strong asset but a question mark even though this year every win is needed – cannot afford to both weaken the 8th and play with the 9th.

        the yanks have had a solid 1-2 in the pen since 1994, and I can’t believe this year they will leave themselves naked

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          1. Show me that data.
          2. Robertson’s extreme SSS as proof? Please.

          • mike

            if he succeeded in those outings, would someone state it has been proven he can close? SSS or not, he didnt get it done.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner


              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                Jorge, he came in one time and failed.

                Mariano succeeded 100% of the time, don’t forget that.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  Especially his first year closing. Not one mistake. Ever.

                • RedLgs14

                  Mariano had some blown saves in 2013

        • I’m One

          Very small sample size and he went down with an oblique strain right after that. The injury may have affected his performance. Give him a real chance.

          • RetroRob

            Yes, like all of 2014.

            Some of these RABers would have crucified Mariano at the start of his closing career, they would have wanted Bernie sent back to the minors, etc.

    • PeterWRusso

      Would give Phelps Pineda and Warren staring jobs in the rotation. To break in three young pitchers, will show a Yankees are committed to young players. As for Steven Drew, I would not make that investment. He is going to require a compensation pick to the Red Son.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        How long before Adam Warren and David Phelps stop being counted as “young?”

        • I’m One

          5 more years. Minimum.

    • Circle K

      Phelps may have to be one of the starting pitchers because Nuno and Warren have only three MLB starts each, Banuelos has no MLB starts, and Pineda last pitched in 2011.

      Win totals for starting pitchers mean nothing, it’s all about wins for the team period. Kuroda was hands down the 2013 Yankees’ ace despite his 11-12 record.

      The fifth starter slot is always a crapshoot and expectedly so as how many fifth starters pitch like fourth starters or better?

      NO to giving Balfour two years. One year or a year with a reasonably attainable vesting option i.e. 50 games pitched. Robertson would have to be re-signed for a year for Balfour or whoever to be the bridge between Mo and Robertson for two years, so your idea is impossible because no way Robertson is taking just a year or setup man money with no guarantee he’ll be the closer at contract’s end when he could EASILY make closer money. Logan just got $5.5M a year for three years, so Robertson should EASILY command at least four years and $10M a year even if he turns in another stellar season as a setup man.

      Young is too old and Reynolds sucks – best to sign Drew and see if he’s willing to take three years $10M a year $30M total and play third for 2014 only then move to SS for 2015-16.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        If David Robertson gets shut out of the ninth by the Yanks, then turns in a typical performance in the 8th this year, someone else is paying him closer money at the end of the season. Might as well give him the honest opportunity to do it in pinstripes.

        • mike

          doing it in the 8th doesn’t automatically translate to success in the 9th…i can recall many times when Stanton, Nelson, Gordon ( as a Yank) etc – all of whom were very successful in stressful spots – faltered when Mo needed an “off day” and he still either had to get up or come into the game.

          I dont mind feathering in Robertson, but to give him the ball in ST and not have a back-up plan (Kelly…really?) is asking for trouble

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Hence why bringing in an additional arm that can solidify the 7th/8th inning, and may bring some closing experience, would be good.

            I have no clue what you’re trying to argue here. I also hypothesize that you have no clue what you’re arguing either.

  • Roy Munson

    I’d love to swoop in and grab balfour. If for no other reason to listen to the gas bags on MASN whine and complain about how the Yankees stole another player from the birds after they dropped the ball. It’s high comedy, if you’ve not checked out Rick Dempseys post game analysis pleae do… it’s like an SNL skit

  • CanoSoup4u

    I think Balfour is a good pitcher but I dont think he’d sign with us unless we offered him the closer position.

    I’m fine with that but is nobody worried about his shoulder, BB rate, and that he’s a flyball pitcher moving from Oakland to Yankee Stadium?

    Also not sure if it matters or not but Robertson probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

  • Eselquetodolosabe

    Experience, experience, experience …., do it, sign this guy. His resumè speaks for itself.

  • Dr. TJ Eckleberg

    Just sort of thinking out loud, but can you imagine if another team looked at his medicals and nixed the deal? Holy shit, that guy’s career would be toast.

  • BigHeadKay

    I think maybe Benoit might be a good option for the Yanks. I believe Robertson will hit his stride as a closer. The guy can flat out strike people out! he just needs to harness his control, because he also flat out WALKS to many batters.
    I think DRod is ready for this role. And I also think he has the tem spirit to accept whichever role the Yankee Brass gives him. If the Yanks sign Benoit, he can close OR setup…he’s done both. This gives DRob a shot at winning the closer role out of Spring training. I think he’s earned that shot.

    • FLYER7

      Benoit signed with SD ?

    • nope

      Didn’t Benoit sign with San Diego?

  • D$1184

    Because the Yankees don’t have enough experience with a player insisting that he is healthy when a doctor says he isn’t?

  • Tom

    The Yankees need a good bullpen arm.

    Whether it’s a closer/setup man/4th inning guy… the Yankees need a good arm in a bullpen where Preston Claiborne is currently the 3rd best reliever.

    If the best way to do this is to bring in a closer and keep Robertson in the setup role, so be it. People continue to insist that Robertson “deserves” a chance to close… why? The idea is to win ballgames and if that means Robertson continuing to work the 8th inning, the Yankees should do it.

    I’m dumbfounded by the people around here that would apparently prefer a lesser arm in a 7th or 8th inning role (who could close if Robertson fails), solely so Robertson can get a shot to close. Isn’t the goal to get the best possible arms in the pen? The number of good arms on the market has dwindled quite a bit.

    If Balfour can be signed at a reasonable price and it means giving him the closer job and Robertson setting up, why shouldn’t the Yankees do it?

  • BigHeadKay

    Didn’t know Benoit got signed. I thought the Yanks should have made a play for him. Balfour is not a bad get. But I still think DRob deserves a shot at the closer role in spring training. If Balfour is the right guy for the job then fine…go with him. But DRob deserves a shot. Last I checked, Spring training was designed to fill out the positions with the best players. There is a competition for starting jobs. Your jump to the conclusion that DRob has an inferior arm to Balfour shows you know little about the subject. And while it may prove to be so, you nor I are in no position to make that claim at this stage. Get Balfour…let them compete…take the best man.