A major league baseball source has confirmed that the Oakland Athletics agreed to terms on a two-year contract with relief pitcher Grant Balfour. The deal is for $8.1 million over two years and is pending a physical. Balfour, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays, would be scheduled to earn $3.75 million in 2011 and $4 million in 2012. The deal would include a 2013 club option for $4.5 million as well as a $350,000 buyout.
Balfour would likely fill one of the top setup roles for the A’s behind closer Andrew Bailey. Last season Balfour threw 55 1/3 innings posting a 2.28 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He averaged 9.1 strikeouts and 2.8 walks per nine innings. Balfour’s season qualified him as a Type A free agent, which normally would cost the A’s a first round draft choice. However, due to their finish in the standings, their first round pick is protected. Thus, Oakland will give up its second round pick to Tampa Bay.