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MLB News and Rumors: Balfour drama continues

MLB News and Rumors: Balfour drama continues
December 21, 2013
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With the offseason now in full spring, news will continue to become more and more frequent. In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

With no major trades or signings occurring Friday, there are no “Top Stories.”  Instead, I will give a rundown of all of the day’s news and notes.

Here are the stories from Friday, December 20th.

News and Notes

  • Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told reporters that the team will not sign Grant Balfour.  The Orioles had agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal with Balfour, but concerns with his physical caused Baltimore to back out.  Balfour told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he is baffled that the Orioles backed out and that he is 100% percent healthy.  Balfour said, “I’m the All-Star pitcher I was last season.  My shoulder is fine, everything is fine.  I’m ready to come out there in the ninth inning, do what I do.”  The closer will discuss a grievance against the Orioles with the players’ union, according to Ken Rosenthal.

  • Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun said the Orioles have switched their attention to Francisco Rodney.  While Jim Bowden of ESPN reported the Rays have interest in a reunion with Balfour.

  • Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio mentioned the Indians, White Sox, Mariners, and Yankees, along with the Rays, as fits for Balfour.  Duquette said the Indians tried to sign Joaquin Benoit even after signing John Axford, so he believes they may try to add Balfour now too.

  • In other Orioles news, lefty reliever Troy Patton has been suspended for 25 games for testing positive for amphetamines.

  • The Twins and catcher Kurt Suzuki agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million deal with extra incentives included.

  • The Giants designated pitcher Eric Surkamp for assignment.  Surkamp, the lefty, owns a Minor League career ERA of 2.84 in 484 2/3 innings.

  • Kevin Youkilis has decided to sign with Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles for one-year and  $4 million with another $1 million available in incentives.

  • The Diamondbacks agreed to an extension with reliever Brad Ziegler for two-years, $10.5 million, with a club option for a third year.

  • The Athletics claimed former Tribe catcher Chris Gimenez off of waivers.  Gimenez was placed on waivers by Tampa Bay. 

User Comments

December 22, 2013 - 8:07 PM EST
"It seems a bit odd the Tribe would be willing to tie up that much cash in BP arms, after not spending on Joe Smith..."

I think the Indians felt that Allen and Shaw would fill in for Smith and a closer was needed more than Smith. They were completely done with any role.
December 21, 2013 - 10:20 PM EST
130mil for 7 yrs for Choo. ? How many times have we in Cleveland seen him take the wrong track to a fly ball or misread a pitcher's motion and get picked off or thrown out. How many April and Mays did we watch him hit .220 or less. To his credit he has taken instruction and improved his approach at the plate- he really blossomed as a hitter under Bruce Field. But he ain't an elite player and probably won't ever be, and he's getting elite money. They're burning money in Texas w Fielder and Choo. I think this is Ron Washington's last year, 'course I've said that the last 3 years.
December 21, 2013 - 8:04 PM EST
18.5 per year for 7 years for a 31 year old is dumb. I guess no one learned from pujols and Hamilton.
December 21, 2013 - 4:08 PM EST
Crazy over pay for Choo. Nice player but really...
Rich S.
December 21, 2013 - 3:57 PM EST
Can 't believe Boras got that much for Choo. He is a good player, not great, who can't hit lefties. He is probably a $10 million/year type of player instead of the $20 mil per year that he got. Way big overpay by the Rangers. Glad Indians got what they did for Choo last year.
December 21, 2013 - 2:06 PM EST
You can extend as many qualifying offers to players as you want. The Yankees I believe had three players (Cano, Granderson and Kuroda).

The financial landscape of the game has certainly changed. It is why Dick Jacobs got out when he did. The well was running dry from the new ballpark and abnormal revenue stream.....and league payrolls really started jumping starting in 1998. Look at what payrolls were from 1990-1997 and then how rapidly they grew from 1998-2002. He knew it was a losing proposition for the owner....and got out.
December 21, 2013 - 1:40 PM EST
Choo 7yr 130 mil. Huge overpay. He is not worth that much, Reds get another 1 round pick.
December 21, 2013 - 12:29 PM EST
Shin Soo Choo has signed with the Rangers. Have not seen a dollar figure yet.
December 21, 2013 - 10:10 AM EST
It seems a bit odd the Tribe would be willing to tie up that much cash in BP arms, after not spending on Joe Smith. I wouldn't rule it out, because, they may feel that's where the value is at, plus a solid BP arm could bring back a good return in a trade. It could be they feel like adding another arm would effectively shorten games.

As for Balfour, I think this whole thing has effectively hurt his mkt. Three teams (Padres, Indians, Cubs) have signed a CL in the last week. If the Orioles were out of the mkt, for Balfour to begin with, his opportunities / leverage would not have been as limited as they are now.

That said, I think Balfour signs with TB for the same deal he had agreed to with the Orioles.
December 21, 2013 - 10:03 AM EST

There was speculation that Indians had interest in acq. Surkamp along with others for Chris Perez back in 2012. I'm not sure there is any truth to it, but it seems like he was one name mentioned in rumors.

This said, I'm not sure IF the Tribe has interest in Surkamp, but it would make sense to add a young controllable LHSP / LHRP even IF his upside is a 4/5th SP. In order to acq. him, I think the a Tribe would have to make a minor trade. Maybe a cash deal or lower level prospect in return.
December 21, 2013 - 9:57 AM EST
Not that high on Surkamp, I saw him pitch against the reds last year and the reds lit him up big time.

If the Indians are interested in Balfour, I could see that Indians want to have stronger bullpen than last year and returning to what they had in 11 and 12.

Balfour, Axford, Allen and Shaw. With the hope that Pestano returns to form. So if one goes down to injury or bad performance you could move the group into the closer role. I guess it would be similar to what the Cardinals did in 13. I believe the started the season with Motte, Mujica and finally Rosenthal.
December 21, 2013 - 8:57 AM EST
Surkamp looks like a good waver claim but doubt he would make it to us if we did claim.

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