Earlier this week, our pals over at Jaysjournal and I were debating the merits of a Casey Janssen for Tyler Skaggs trade. It was a spirited give and take between the two blogs and ultimately I felt it was not in the best interest of the Arizona Diamondbacks to trade a young pitcher for a closer who may only stick around for one season. However, with the 29 blown saves still stuck in my head, it is clear that the D’backs still need to find the answer as to who gets the ball in the 9th inning. If you don’t think Jake Barrett can make the leap from Double A to Big League closer or if you don’t want to stand pat, I have just the guy for you.
How about a big, intense Aussie named Grant Balfour?
You might say, why do we need another over 35 year old guy in the bullpen? Well if that guy has saved 62 games over the past two seasons for a two-time division winner, why wouldn’t you take a shot at him? Balfour has played in a total of ten Major League seasons but has only accumulated 473 innings. By contrast, Heath Bell had over 550 innings in nine seasons before 2013 and had already pitched his best ball. The hard-throwing Balfour’s 2013 was outstanding with a 1-3 record and a 2.59 ERA with 38 saves. Although his WHIP was a little on the high side at 1.197, a change over to the National League where he has never pitched could bring that number down a bit. I have nothing against the D’backs bringing up Barrett and skipping Triple A but I feel immediately putting him in the stopper’s role might be too big a leap.
GM Kevin Towers has said that his first priorities are a power bat and a starting pitcher. We are not even sure if Balfour is on the D’backs’ radar. Remember, no one saw Bell coming to the desert last season, either. It sounds like the perfect opportunity to sign one of Australia’s best baseball exports and have him perform in front of his home fans when the Snakes roll Down Under.