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Grant Balfour to Rays: Tampa Bay Rays sign closer Grant Balfour at discount

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Grant Balfour to Rays rumors have now panned out. The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a two-year contract with Grant Balfour, making him the team's closer for the next two seasons. According to a report from Thursday (Jan. 23), the deal is worth $12 million over the next two seasons, which is a bit less than the deal the Baltimore Orioles offered him earlier in the MLB offseason.

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With Fernando Rodney heading into free agency, this was a needed move for the franchise in order to improve the bullpen for the team. It also appears that after the 36-year-old failed his physical with the Orioles, that the Rays were able to sign him a bit cheaper than previously thought. Now the closer from the Oakland Athletics last season will be staying in the American League, but his job doesn't get any easier in the East.

Last season he finished the season with a 2.59 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, and 38 saves for the Athletics. It was a pretty good season, but as is typical for recent Oakland baseball, the team was looking to save some money in letting him go. In addition to having Grant Balfour in the bullpen for the 2014 baseball season, the Tampa Bay Rays also have Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, Heath Bell, and Juan Carlos Oviedo. He immediately becomes the ninth inning option, but there are several pitchers that could see time late in games if he falters.

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