Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said earlier this week the organization would be willing to go multiple years on a free-agent pitcher in the right scenario.
And while the club has extended a two-year contract to Grant Balfour, the sticking point in negotiations regarding the free-agent closer -- who will turn 36 at the end of the month -- so far has been the length of the deal.
Industry sources confirmed to MLB.com on Thursday that Balfour has several offers on the table, and the Orioles, who have been heavily rumored to land the right-hander all week, still believe they are in a favorable position to land him.
Duquette acknowledged on Wednesday that the organization had made several offers to free agents, including starters, relievers and at least one left-handed hitter, and the O's remain optimistic they can start to address those needs quickly following an uneventful Winter Meetings.
Balfour went 1-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 65 games for the A's last season, pitching 62 2/3 innings and compiling 38 saves, good for sixth in the American League. The Orioles, in need of a closer after trading Jim Johnson earlier this month -- because they were unwilling to pay a salary of more than $10 million to him -- would try to reallocate that money with a deal that comes in at an average annual value less than that.
Balfour, a native of Australia, has 10 years of big league experience, the past three with Oakland and the four prior to that with Tampa Bay. Balfour made his debut with Minnesota in 2001 and owns a 28-17 career record with a 3.27 ERA in 463 games, over 473 innings. He compiled 62 of his 72 career saves over the last two seasons with the A's.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less