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November 8, 2013

Rumor Roundup

Backup Planning

by Daniel Rathman


Grant Balfour a Popular Relief Target
Teams in need of late-inning bullpen arms have no shortage of choices in this year’s free agent crop. One of the most popular in the early going appears to be Balfour, who spent the last three seasons with the Athletics and was Oakland’s closer in 2012 and 2013.

The right-hander is represented by the Levinson brothers at ACES and earned about $12 million on his most recent contract. Balfour overcame a surgical double whammy in 2005, when he underwent Tommy John surgery in May and a shoulder operation to repair his labrum and rotator cuff in September, but his arm has been healthy since then. He will turn 36 on December 30, but appears poised for at least one more strong year.

Balfour is a fly-ball pitcher who benefited from the A’s excellent outfield defense and the vast dimensions of their home ballpark. His strikeout rate climbed from 24.4 percent in 2011 to 24.9 percent in 2012 to 27.5 percent in 2013, the last of which represents his best effort since the 2008 season, but his walk rate has hiked along with it, rising to 10.3 percent this past campaign, its highest point since 2009. As a result, Balfour has alternated solid FIPs with decent ones since 2007: 3.63, 2.25, 3.81, 2.65, 3.80, 2.98, 3.52.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: A... (11/08)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Another... (11/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: The Hig... (11/12)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (11/08)

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