Grant Balfour surprisingly declines Rays’ arbitration offer

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Tonight is the deadline for potential free agents to either accept or decline arbitration offers.  There won’t be many surprises, but we’ll keep tabs on the more shocking decisions.

Here’s one.

According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, right-hander Grant Balfour has decided to decline the Rays’ offer of arbitration and will test the free agent market instead.

He’s a Type A free agent and will cost any team that signs him a first round draft pick, but Balfour is probably hoping that the stellar 2.28 ERA and 1.08 WHIP that he posted over 55.1 innings this past season will lead to a multi-year contract.

It’s not known if any clubs have expressed interest in the 32-year-old Balfour thus far.

Each of the seven players that were offered arbitration by the Rays have decided to decline.

Giants making Brandon Belt available

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Giants have made first baseman Brandon Belt available in a trade and says that several teams have expressed interest in him.

Which is kind of weird, really.

Belt turns 31 early next season. He hit .253/.342/.414 with 14 homers over 112 games last year due to a knee injury and time lost to an appendectomy. He has a history of concussions and has averaged only 115 games over the last five seasons. Oh, and makes $48 million over the next three years.

Yes, he could be a very useful player if healthy, but taking on that kind of money, even a part of that money, when many very affordable first base/DH options are out there on the market makes little sense to me. Matt Adams. Justin Bour. Lucas Duda. As good as Belt? No, I don’t think so. But way cheaper and requiring less of a commitment.

But hey, rumors are rumors. Let a thousand flowers bloom.