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.
The Kansas City Royals just announced that Ned Yost will retire following the final game of the season. Mike Matheny will take over as the Royals manager for the 2020 season.
Yost, 65, led the Royals to victory in the 2015 World Series and to back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015. He will retire as the winningest manager in Royals history. In ten years at the helm in Kansas City he is 744-836 with five games remaining. Before he managed the Royals he managed the Milwaukee Brewers for six seasons, compiling a 457-502 record. In all, he is 1,201-1,338. When he’s done on Sunday he will finish 32nd all-time in games managed with 2,544.
The Royals now will look for the man who will, hopefully, see the current rebuild through. Multiple reporters have cited former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny as Yost’s likely replacement. He currently serves as a special advisor in the club’s player development department. He managed the Cards from 2012-18, winning the NL pennant in 2013 and finishing with a record of 591-474 in St. Louis.
Here is the Royals official statement on Yost’s retirement: