Orioles nullify their deal with Grant Balfour

The Grant Balfour-Orioles Dispute: Who's To Blame?

12/23/13 in MLB   |   PAULLEBOWITZ   |   109 respect

I find it hard to believe that anyone from the Orioles coerced their team doctors to find a reason they 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 could use not to sign Balfour. The idea that the medical staff and the Orioles “owe” anyone an explanation is ludicrous. So too is Balfour’s camp turning this into a battle of examinations, credentials and analysis among doctors. The real culprits are the timing and hunt for stories among the media and the desire for clubs, agents and players to have stories going viral to ensure that there’s good press and the deals are completed. In short, it all stems from deals being announced before they’re official. In most instances, the medicals are a formality. In some, there’s a problem that can’t be ignored. The doctor-patient relationship is supposed to be confidential. How can the Orioles’ doctors share Balfour’s information especially if it is regarded as damaging to him?
 
Teams, agents and players all benefit from stories of signings being leaked unless something unexpected like this happens. Because the Orioles were under scrutiny for their lack of spending this winter, the signing of Balfour tamped down fan anger slightly in spite of Balfour being an average closer who won’t make much difference to a team like the Orioles one way or the other. At least they did something. The agents and players benefit because once the story is public, it’s harder for a team to do what the Orioles did and back out. But that’s a dual-edged sword. It rarely happens, but sometimes there are reasons that deals fall apart. In this case it did. The Orioles don’t owe Balfour anything. It’s not fair to Balfour that this is out there, but if he’s as healthy as he claims to be, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about, should there? He should sign with a team and shove it to the Orioles, right?
 
But it’s being blotted out that maybe there is something wrong. If Balfour goes to the mound at some point in 2014 and blows out his shoulder, will there still be this vitriol against Duquette and the Orioles? Or will there be a repeat of what happened with Clemens as people quietly acknowledge that Duquette was right and he wasn’t simply being vindictive to cover himself? Will there be retractions or will it just be swept away and ignored in lieu of that acceptance that there was no vendetta? Maybe it should be taken at face value. It was a medical report the Orioles didn’t like. They decided not to sign Balfour because of it. That’s their right and they don’t have to explain themselves for exercising it.  
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