NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees could use some bullpen help with Mariano Rivera no longer in the fold.
And with Grant Balfour back on the market, the Yankees are interested in signing the closer, according to the New York Post.
The 35-year-old right-hander agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal with the Orioles earlier this month, but it ultimately fell through. A finding during Balfour’s physical reportedly troubled Baltimore, but the veteran has maintained that he’s healthy and good to go for 2014.
Balfour was expected to be the Orioles’ closer before the club opted to go in a different direction. Pitching for the A’s, the 2013 All-Star has converted 62 of 67 save opportunities over the last two seasons.
The Yankees have not anointed David Robertson as the closer, although it remains very possible that he will assume ninth-inning duties in 2014. It was widely assumed that the setup man would take over for Mo when the all-time saves leader retired.
Balfour, a native of Sydney, Australia, was brilliant for Oakland in 2013, recording 38 saves in 41 opportunities and pitching to a 2.59 ERA. He struck out 72 and walked 27 in 62 2/3 innings.
The Yankees’ bullpen could include some, if not all, of the following pitchers next season: Robertson, Matt Thornton, Shawn Kelley, Preston Claiborne, Cesar Cabral, Dellin Betances, David Huff, Manny Banuelos and Jose Campos.
Balfour is arguably the most talented relief pitcher still on the market. It’s slim pickings for quality relievers at this point in the offseason, though Fernando Rodney and Jesse Crain could be of interest to general manager Brian Cashman.
Relievers Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan have signed with the Tigers and Rockies, respectively, this month.
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