There are still several teams interested in closer Grant Balfour. The Baltimore Orioles are leading the charge and appear to be the favorites to land the veteran.
Balfour is considered to be the top closer left 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 Baltimore to make a serious offer. Not to mention, he has posted less than a 2.59 ERA in four straight seasons.
As of right now, it looks like the Orioles will offer Balfour a two- or three-year deal, which should be enough to entice him to sign with the team on the fourth day of the 2013 Winter Meetings.
At this point, a deal must get done if Baltimore wants to stay competitive next season because they are currently without a legitimate closer. There are plenty of second-tier closers available still in free agency, but Balfour is definitely the man the Orioles want for the job. Since Baltimore is an upcoming team, that should be reason enough for the 35-year-old to ink a deal. That and a decent amount of money.
Baltimore has a few positions in need this offseason. With that being said, I believe getting a consistent closer is the most important, especially since the team plays in the incredibly competitive American League East division. The Orioles crushed the most home runs of any team in the league last season. I’m not saying they will do that in 2014 but there’s no question they will be right up there. That’s why they need someone who can close the door in the ninth inning more often than not.