Oct 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour (50) pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the ninth inning in game five of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at O.co Coliseum. The Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Comparing Closer Possibilities – Grant Balfour, John Axford

On a snowy morning, while the Baltimore Orioles execs and media enjoy Florida – the only state with nice weather at this moment according to the Weather Channel – I’ve gotten a bad chill from reports about closer possibilities.

Reports are that the Orioles are the leading contenders to sign former Oakland closer Grant Balfour. It is apparently not going to happen before I can post this, but, anything can come out of these meetings – especially wild rumors.

I’ve written previously about John Axford, who is another possibility; and I’ll not hide my opinion: NO DAN, DON’T DO IT!

Balfour, on the other hand, is workable from a stats point of view. Honestly his 2013 season was better than Jim Johnson’s.

However, he is age 35, and he would not be a great savings. Signing him will likely be around a reported 7-8 million annually for whatever term … so, only a 25% discount of Duquette’s “allocation of resources.”

As you look at the chart below, the numbers are pretty good for Balfour. The one negative that jumps out is the walks per nine innings … at 3.9!  Ugh!  Nothing more frustrating than a closer walking the first guy he sees! And apparently this guy has a nickname of Grant Ball Four… maybe all of you knew that?

Anyhow, here are the comparisons of Johnson, Balfour, and Axford from 2013 …

Name Tm

L

ERA

G

SV

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

WHIP

H/9

HR/9

BB/9

SO/9

SO/BB

Johnson BAL

3

8

2.94

74

50

70.1

72

26

23

5

18

56

1.280

9.2

0.6

2.3

7.2

3.11

Balfour OAK

1

3

2.59

65

38

62.2

48

20

18

7

27

72

1.197

6.9

1.0

3.9

10.3

2.67

Axford Mil/SL

7

7

4.02

75

0

65.0

73

32

29

10

26

65

1.523

10.1

1.4

3.6

9.0

2.50

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Grant Balfour

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