Free agent closer Grant Balfour signed a two-year deal worth $12 million dollars earlier today with the Rays. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (and many others), the Mets made a strong effort to land him before he ultimately agreed to terms with Tampa Bay.
Oct 7, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcherGrant Balfour
(50) pitches in the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers in game three of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at Comerica Park. Oakland won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Ken Rosenthal reported that the Mets offered a deal to Balfour that was worth more than the one he signed with Tampa, but Mike Puma has sources who are telling him that isn’t the case.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York cites an “ultra-reliable” Mets source who tells him the Mets’ offer to Balfour was identical to the one the Rays offered.
If signed, Balfour would’ve solidified the pen. What isn’t clear, is whether or not he would’ve been the closer.
There’s a lot to digest here.
One report states the Mets out-bid the Rays for Balfour, others say the offers were identical.
Unless the Mets’ offer was substantially more than the Rays’ offer, it makes sense that Balfour would choose the Rays – and it shouldn’t be taken as a slap in the face to the Mets.
For one, the Rays had an opening at closer while the Mets didn’t. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there is no state income tax in Florida, meaning the deal the Rays offered may have been worth more even if the Mets exceeded it in dollars.
The biggest takeaway from all of this, is that it indicates that the Mets still have money to spend. There have been lots of articles written recently that claim matter-of-factly that the Mets are done with their offseason. I don’t think that’s the case.
Perhaps Balfour would’ve been their last acquisition if he would’ve signed, or maybe the Mets would’ve signed Stephen Drew (or someone else) as well. What’s evident, is that they still have wiggle room, which seems to make a potential Drew signing more likely.