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Orioles agree to sign Grant Balfour to two-year, $15M deal

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

The fiery Grant Balfour is switching coasts.
The fiery Grant Balfour is switching coasts. (USATSI)

MORE: FA tracker: position players | FA tracker: pitchers

Though it wasn't actually a trade, the Athletics and Orioles have swapped closers this offseason. A few weeks ago, the Orioles dealt All-Star closer Jim Johnson to Oakland and now the Orioles have agreed to sign All-Star closer Grant Balfour.

The two-year deal is pending a physical and is worth $14 million with $500,000 deferred each year, confirms Jon Heyman, as first reported by MASN.com. So Balfour will make $7 million in each of the next two seasons with a million in deferred dollars, meaning it's a $15 million deal in full.

Balfour, 35, took over as A's closer in 2012 and excelled in the role last season. He successfully converted 38 of 41 save attempts with a 2.59 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings. In the past two seasons, he has 62 saves and only five blown saves.

Balfour is now the obvious choice as the Orioles closer, with the likes of Tommy Hunter, Darren O'Day and Brian Matusz available in front of him.

With Balfour gone, there are still a few proven closers available via free agency, including Fernando Rodney and Joaquin Benoit.

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