Grant Balfour’s tenure as closer for the Tampa Bay Rays appears to be over for the time being.
Manager Joe Maddon announced Monday morning that the right-handed reliever will be removed from the closer’s role. In his place, the Rays will use a bullpen-by-committee system.
Balfour’s latest issues occurred in Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Seattle Mariners, when he entered a scoreless game in the ninth inning and promptly surrendered five runs in the frame en route to a 5-0 loss.
Since joining the Rays last December, the Australian native has not come close to duplicating the success he had one year ago with the Oakland Athletics. In 2013, he finished sixth in the American League in saves with 38, and held a solid 2.59 ERA.
Before 2014 even started, Balfour was mired with troubles. He appeared to have a deal in place with the Baltimore Orioles, but the club backed out when it did not like the results of his physical.
Whether or not that situation impacted him at all, Balfour’s never hit his stride this year, with his ERA sitting at 6.46 and his WHIP at 1.65. Balfour has been charged for 17 runs in 23.2 innings of work, just one fewer run than he allowed all last season. Over the last month, he has just recorded just three saves.
Despite losing his job, Balfour said to the Tampa Bay Times that he is fine with his manager’s decision.
“It’s that close from being a non-issue,” Balfour said.
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