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Orioles working on a deal with closer Grant Balfour

Oakland Athletics v Pittsburgh Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 09: Grant Balfour #50 of the Oakland Athletics pitches in the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on July 9, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Oakland defeated the Pirates 2-1. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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It sounds like Baltimore has zeroed in on its preferred Jim Johnson replacement, as Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Orioles are “trying to get a deal done” with former A’s closer Grant Balfour.

Balfour didn’t get a chance to be a closer until age 33, but he’s saved 62 games with a 2.56 ERA and 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings during the past two seasons while holding opponents to a .182 batting average.

Based on just about everything except save totals--which are inherently iffy as an evaluation tool--Balfour represents an upgrade over Johnson and perhaps a pretty sizable upgrade at that.

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