Grant Balfour rumors: Yankees in the mix

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Balfour's deal with Baltimore appears to have fizzled out. Now, he's getting looks from the O's division rivals.

The New York Yankees have shown interest in free agent closer Grant Balfour, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.

Balfour appeared to be in line to succeed Jim Johnson as Baltimore's closer, but after team doctors examined the 35-year-old's pitching shoulder, his 2-year, $15 million deal with the team quickly disintegrated. Balfour has expressed his frustration with the club in the media, saying he was "disappointed" by the situation.

A good way to channel that disappointment could be signing with one of the O's biggest rivals. David Robertson appears to be the successor for the closer's job in New York as it stands now, but Balfour would certainly be an option if he ends up in pinstripes. The Yankees haven't had to worry much about the ninth inning since Mariano Rivera started closing out games in 1996, so they could decide to bring in a veteran.

Balfour was excellent in his first extended look as a closer with the Athletics. Over the past two seasons, the 10-year veteran has posted a 2.56 ERA, converting 62 of 67 save opportunities.

New York has expressed a desire to avoid the luxury tax threshold of $189 million, so payroll limitations could be a concern in a potential deal for Balfour. However, the Yankees haven't allowed those looming penalties slow them down so far this offseason, and Balfour would give them an experienced hand at the back-end of a bullpen in transition.

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