Even though the Baltimore Orioles are in hot pursuit of closer Grant Balfour, nothing is a done deal until an agreement is made. Sources indicate that the Orioles haven’t even made an offer to Balfour yet, which means there’s still plenty of time for the New York Yankees to get a deal done.
I understand that the Yankees believe setup man David Robertson, who is the assumed successor of legendary closer Mariano Rivera, is the man to close games for the ensuing years. With that being said, general manager Brian Cashman isn’t convinced Robertson is the man for the job. More importantly, Cashman isn’t going to allow Robertson, who is rather inexperienced when it comes to the closer role, get the job without first looking for a more valuable piece.
Balfour is considered to be the top closer available in free agency. His 38 saves, 72 strikeouts and 2.59 earned run average in 65 appearances for the Oakland Athletics last season should be enough for New York to make an offer. Not to mention, he has posted less than a 2.59 ERA in four straight seasons.
If the Yankees do sign Balfour, it shouldn’t be for the purpose to provide Robertson competition. Balfour will be the closer and Robertson will remain in the setup role. If anything else, the signing of Balfour would also allow New York to explore trade options using Robertson as bait. However, I think it’s best if he remains on the team, as he has been a stellar asset in the bullpen.
Balfour and Robertson would provide one of the best one-two punches in the American League, which would do wonders for New York’s aging starting rotation.