Rays Signing Balfour Demolishes Orioles' Injury Concerns
Initially, I supported the Orioles in their decision. It’s their money and their doctors. The agreement was leaked out before official completion as part of a common strategy used by both clubs and agents to prevent just this sort of thing from happening. The fact is that some medical examinations are not routine and if an issue shows up, the team can nullify the contract. If the Orioles saw something that made them pause, no one had the right to demand that they move forward with the contract worth $15 million if they didn’t think he’d be able to stay healthy for the duration of it.
The manner in which the entire episode played out was surreal. Balfour was understandably angry that the Orioles had publicly stated that he’s not healthy and cost him money on the market ($3 million as it turned out). Outside doctors who’d examined Balfour in the past publicly questioned the conclusions of the Orioles’ doctors. Media and fans formulated conspiracy theories that Orioles owner Peter Angelos had one of his Mr. Burns-style characteristic changes-of-heart and suddenly decided that he didn’t want to let general manager Dan Duquette sign Balfour.
It was all murky and ambiguous like a faceless assassination plot where plausible deniability and reasonable gripes are evident at every turn. No one is to blame because there are no fingerprints or evidence of any overt wrongdoing.
That ended when the Rays signed Balfour.
Given their financial constraints, the Rays can’t afford to waste what little money they have available to sign free agents, make trades, keep their own players and run the organization as a whole on a player who might spend his entire tenure with them on the disabled list.