The Rays locked up an important piece of their American League championship bullpen on Thursday, signing right-hander Grant Balfour to a one-year, $1.4 million deal, and avoiding arbitration in the process.
Balfour, a native of Australia, gets a $900,000 raise from 2008, when he rocketed to stardom with a 6-2 record, a 1.54 ERA, four saves and 82 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings.
While Balfour is now locked in for 2009, infielders Willy Aybar and Jason Bartlett and catcher Dioner Navarro filed for salary arbitration on Thursday.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.