Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Balfour: ‘I feel like I’d like a multiyear deal’
Posted Nov 30, 2010 by Roger Mooney
Updated Nov 30, 2010 at 10:51 PM
Grant Balfour, right, wants a multiyear deal.
BY ROGER MOONEY
Grant Balfour turned down the Rays offer for arbitration for a simple reason – he feels he can earn a multiyear deal on the free agent market.
“It’s a one-year deal,” Balfour said. “Why would I want that when I can go out and find a multiyear deal somewhere else? Or, who knows, maybe the Rays will want (to offer a multiyear deal). I’m not going to close the door on anyone. That would be crazy to do that. I enjoyed pitching for them. I feel like I’d like a multiyear deal. I see a lot of guys getting multiyear deals that I feel haven’t pitched as good as me in the past few years, so I feel like maybe I’m deserving of that without being greedy.”
Balfour made $2.05 million in 2010 and would have made possibly $4 million had he gone through arbitration. He is represented by the same agency that got former Rays Joaquin Benoit his $16.5 million, three-year deal with the Tigers. So, why wouldn’t he take a shot at free agency?
“It’s got to help the market for relievers, I would think,” Balfour said. “Who knows? We’ll see. We’ll find out.”
Balfour had his best seasons since joining the Rays at the 2007 trade deadline. He and J.P. Howell formed what manager Joe Maddon called his “middle-inning firemen” during the Rays march to the 2008 World Series. Balfour was one of the best seventh inning pitchers in baseball last season.
He was hoping to parlay that into a multiyear deal with the Rays. Since that hasn’t worked out, Balfour is going to see if other teams view him in the same fashion that he views himself.
“I believe there’s interest out there and I’m looking forward to see what comes of it whether it’s with the Rays or whether it’s a fresh start somewhere else,” he said. “I feel like I can be pretty good for a lot of teams. I feel pretty confident where I’m at right now, the way I threw the ball last year and the past three years, really. I just look forward to see what comes of it. I’m sure I’ll be somewhere. I’ll make the most of what’s out there.”