The time has come for O's to win one in free agency

The Orioles may have reached the point in the offseason where they have to overpay to get what they want. They seem to want Grant Balfour to be their closer, and it looks like they are going to have to outbid other clubs to get him.

The time has come for the Orioles to do just that.

The Orioles need help with their starting pitching. Bartolo Colon signed a two-year, $20 million dollar deal with the Mets. Tim Hudson signed a two-year, $23 million dollar deal with the Giants.

Those deals seemed right in the Orioles' wheelhouse. They had chances to make a play for a decent pitcher at a low cost, when you compare those deals to others that were signed. Maybe neither pitcher would have seriously considered the Orioles, but the Orioles should have considered them. Let's hope they did.

If the club is not willing to sign a needed free agent that will cost $60, $80 or $100 million or more, then don't the Orioles have to at least win the battles that take place on a lower dollar level? Battles like the one going on right now for Balfour.

The Orioles acquired two players in the Rule 5 draft yesterday. It seems they made some nice acquisitions with the draft and maybe they have added one or two players to help the organization as Ryan Flaherty and T.J. McFarland did in past seasons. The O's staff did a good job in the Rule 5 draft prep again.

But you can't build an American League East winner, or even a contender with only Rule 5 additions. You need more. Dan Duquette is excellent at finding players for good value and players that provide depth for his club.

But now the time has come to add a player or players that can make a difference when teams like the Red Sox and Yankees come to town. Balfour can make that difference.

It's time for the Orioles to win one in a free agent battle. Balfour would be a good start. Maybe Duquette could take that momentum and produce an offseason that fans can get on board with.

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