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Grant Balfour

Grant Balfour - RHP
Hometown: Sydney, NSW
Debut: 22 July 2001
Final Game: signed through 2015 with Tampa Bay Rays
Teams played for: Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays

The son of former Sydney Blue Sox general manager David Balfour, Grant Balfour dominated the late innings as one of the most consistent closers in baseball in 2013 and is one of the nation's most successful Major Leaguers.

The native Sydneysider signed with the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent in 1997 and debuted with them in 2001, two months after fellow Australian and Sydneysider Brad Thomas also made his Minnesota debut. Balfour's first few years of his career were relatively unremarkable, and he struggled to find a niche in the Twins' bullpen. Things came together for the righty in 2004, when he went 4-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 36 relief appearances. However, Balfour missed the entire 2005 season due to injury and spent 2006 in the low Minors of the Cincinnati Reds organisation.

Balfour returned to MLB action with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007 but was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays near the trading deadline. A fresh start in Tampa was what Balfour needed to get his career back on track. After starting his time with the Rays in Triple-A, the team called him up to the big leagues, and he thrived, filling several different roles in the bullpen. Balfour's best season in a Rays uniform came in 2008, when he went 6-2 with a 1.54 ERA in 51 relief appearances. The Rays won their first American League pennant that year,but lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

Balfour's four years with the Rays turned his career around, and he emerged from the World Series as a top free agent reliever. He signed a two-year, USD $8-million contract with the Oakland Athletics in 2011 and alternated between closer and setup man for his first two seasons. As the Athletics' closer in 2013, Balfour set the MLB record for most consecutive saves, earning his 41st straight on 8 July. He earned his first career All-Star selection that month as well, as a replacement for an injured teammate, and finished the season with 38 saves and a 2.59 ERA in 65 appearances on the mound.

In 2014, Balfour returned to the Rays but struggled out of the gate. The team removed him from the closer's role midway through the season, and he finished the year 2-6 with a 4.91 ERA in 65 games. 

View Grant Balfour's career statistics from Baseball Reference