The Rays have reached agreement with reliever Grant Balfour, reports Andrew Rickli of SportsReel Boston (via Twitter). The deal is for two years and $12MM, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported (via tweet) that the deal was expected to land in that range.
Of course, the ACES client had an earlier agreement in place with the Orioles for two years and $15MM, which was blown up when Baltimore found issues with the reliever’s physical. The Aussie will nevertheless throw in the AL East after agreeing to terms with Tampa. (It is worth noting that the Rays’ team doctor was one of those who said there were no issues with Balfour’s right shoulder, though the Orioles apparently had other reasons for concern with the medicals.)
As MLBTR’s Steve Adams wrote in profiling Balfour earlier in the offseason, the righty struck out batters at an impressive rate of 10.8 K/9 in 2013. Though the 36-year-old’s fastball velocity has dipped since he worked around the 95 mph mark in his excellent 2008 season with Tampa, he still brings his heater at above 93 mph on average.