Orioles medical excuse ruined by Rays signing Balfour

Rays Signing Balfour Demolishes Orioles' Injury Concerns

1/25/14 in MLB   |   PAULLEBOWITZ   |   109 respect

Had the Yankees, Dodgers or Red Sox signed Grant Balfour—teams with money to Sep 14, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour (50) looks for the signal against the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning of a baseball game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Athletics won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports burn who were willing to take the risk on a player who reportedly had suspect medicals—then the Orioles could explain away backing out of their deal with the reliever. Since it’s the Rays that signed Balfour to a two-year, $12 million contract, the Orioles can’t justify their decision due to doctor’s 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. 
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