The Oakland Athletics took a big step in assuring a solid presence late in games on the mound next year, picking up Grant Balfour‘s option for next season.
Balfour will earn $4.5 million next year, following a 24 save performance in the regular season this year. Balfour played a key role in late last season, but thrived down the stretch and in the playoffs. He become a fan favorite and cemented the Athletics as a contender by helping capture a division title for Oakland.
Oakland declined their option on shortstop, Stephen Drew today leaving a question mark at shortstop as the Athletics head into the off-season. Drew joined the Athletics last season following a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 39 games with Oakland, Drew hit .250 with five home runs and 16 runs batted in. He holds a $10 million mutual option, meaning both Drew and the Athletics must agree on his return.
However, it’s not an easy formality. Oakland’s a small market club that lacks the money to pay Drew that much for small production. The Athletics should and will likely decline their part of their option and attempt to resign Drew. If not, Oakland will have to look for another solution at shortstop next season. Other free agent options that the Athletics could ponder include Marco Scuatoro and Jhonny Peralta.
After these moves, Oakland still has some key decisions to make. Outfielder, Jonny Gomes and pitcher, Brandon McCarthy are eligible for free agency this off-season.