A's pick up Balfour's option, decline Drew's
By Jane Lee / MLB.com | 10/29/12 6:10 PM ET
Balfour slams the door00:00:27
10/2/12: Grant Balfour blows a fastball past Nelson Cruz in the ninth to record his 24th save and finish off the A's win over the Rangers
OAKLAND -- The A's made a pair of significant decisions on Monday, declining shortstop Stephen Drew's option while picking up closer Grant Balfour's, as expected.
Drew, 29, held a mutual option worth $10 million, a hefty price tag for the A's, who can still re-sign the free-agent shortstop should the two sides work out a new deal.
Oakland is very much interested in continuing conversations with Drew to bring him back, according to sources, but should Scott Boras' client go elsewhere, the A's -- who traded shortstop Cliff Pennington to the D-backs just last week -- would be left to explore other options in a lackluster shortstop market that doesn't feature many impact infielders.
Drew, an above-average defender, hit .250 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 39 games with the A's, following his trade from Arizona on Aug. 20.
Balfour, meanwhile, will collect $4.5 million from the A's in 2013, following an exceptional campaign that resulted in a team-high 75 appearances. The 34-year-old collected 24 saves while posting a 2.53 ERA.
Moving forward, the A's top priority is presumably still Drew, and they must also decide whether to re-sign free agents Jonny Gomes and Brandon McCarthy.