Grant Balfour is available for the league minimum salary after being released by the Rays and Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that the veteran reliever is “on the Cubs’ radar.”
Balfour turned his career around in Tampa Bay when Joe Maddon was the Rays’ manager, so there’s an obvious connection there, and the Cubs are looking for some bullpen help thanks to multiple injuries to key setup men.
However, at age 37 it’s unclear how much help Balfour is capable of being at this point. Tampa Bay cut him loose while eating about $6 million in guaranteed salary, which isn’t something the budget-conscious Rays did lightly, and since the beginning of last season Balfour has a 5.00 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 45 walks in 67 innings.
He no longer throws hard enough to simply overpower hitters and make up for his poor control, but as a low-cost, no-risk pickup perhaps Balfour has 40 decent innings left in him as a middle reliever.