Trade Candidate: Grant Balfour

The Athletics are playing respectably right now, but if the season unfolds as expected and the Rangers and Angels distance themselves from the A's and Mariners by midsummer, Billy Beane will be fielding many calls from rival GMs interested in acquiring his players. Kurt Suzuki, Coco Crisp and Bartolo Colon should prepare themselves for a summer in the rumor mill, but right-hander Grant Balfour may draw the most interest of all.

Some teams are already short on relief pitching and their need will only intensify by the time the July 31st trade deadline approaches. Balfour will be an appealing commodity since he’s affordable, effective and durable. Affordable, because he'll earn just $4MM in 2012 (his contract includes a $4.5MM club option for 2013 with a $350K buyout). Effective, as demonstrated by his 2.77 ERA, 9.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 since 2008. And durable, since he's made at least 50 appearances per season during that same span.

Teams inquired on Balfour this past offseason, and the 34-year-old native of Australia has done nothing to discourage their interest in the early going of the 2012 season (he has a 0.90 ERA in a league-leading nine appearances). Bullpen issues have already surfaced in places such as Boston, Tampa Bay and Anaheim. Even if those pitching staffs recover, other clubs will have interest in Balfour-like pitchers.

It’s unusual for teams to complete significant trades before the amateur draft takes place in June, but the A’s might part with Balfour relatively early if another team offers enough in return.’s Buster Olney called Balfour “the best reliever you could trade for today,” implying he’s available (Twitter link).

If the A’s listen to offers for Balfour now, expect them to demand a significant return — perhaps a controllable player capable of making an impact at the Major League level plus supplementary pieces. If teams balk at the asking price, Beane can simply wait until July when he'll have the chance to obtain value from a team in serious need of relief help.

35 Responses to Trade Candidate: Grant Balfour Leave a Reply

  1. chico65 3 years ago

    Cherington will offer one of his kidneys and Bobby V’s spleen

    • tomymogo 3 years ago

      The greek god of walks? Billy Beane will be very interested in that, because really Boston has no prospects whatsoever

      • Ben_Cherington 3 years ago

        Such good insight.  Im not ever sure if we have a minor league system. 

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

       I hope Boston steers well clear of Grant “ball-four” have never cared for him since his days as a Tampa Bay Ray and wouldn’t care to see him on the Sox, much less give up much for him and no disrespect intended to Oakland here. He has been an every other year player until the last 2 years and is 34YO.. Let someone else over pay and hold on for Rich Hill, send Bard to the Pen, call up Cook and hold off another month for Matsuzaka.

      The situation isn’t nearly as bad as the media is making it out. Just hard choices to make and Valentine needs to stand up like he used to have the backbone to do.. tell the media off and do them.

      • agreed that or bobby v needs to break out the glasses and mustache when hes making decisions from here on out until they start winning lol. 

  2. Dc21892 3 years ago

    Boston bound? We need reliable relievers bad. I know it’s still early, but a bullpen this bad usually keeps up all season. Sure, at some point there won’t be 7 run innings being put up but they are having a hard time finding anyone reliable right now.

  3. Snoochies8 3 years ago

    With the new CBA and a player having to be on a team a full year for draft-compensation status, I think that might affect relievers trade value some. Especially top tier ones that used to be considered type-a relievers. teams could get a reliever for half a year and then get two picks out of it. 

    i hope someone is willing to pay big for balfour and think he’s worth it (being a total homer of course), but i do think the draft compensation might drop his value, even if it means only not getting a really low tier organization filler prospect

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

      Balfour isn’t an impending free agent, and his option is a near lock as long as he doesn’t get hurt (And, since Bob Geren isn’t the manager of the A’s anymore, Balfour isn’t going to be run into the ground like Bailey and Wuertz were).

      Hopefully, that positively impacts Balfour’s trade value.

  4. Grant Balfour for Alberto Callaspo?

  5. J.j. Miller 3 years ago

     im pretty sure 4.5 mill 2013 option for balfour will be picked up, with the A’s or pretty much any other team if he’s traded. He’s been very good as closer which also helps his value. A’s have relievers with good arms but inexperienced so threy might not be in a rush to trade balfour yet. But im sure if a team offered a good 3b/ss prospect it could interest A’s

  6. J.j. Miller 3 years ago

    im sure A’s would love 3b middlebrooks but doubt red sox trade him. Cue the lars anderson rumors again lol

    • Tko11 3 years ago

      Why would the sox trade their best prospect for a 34 year old reliever? 

      • Snoochies8 3 years ago

        “but doubt the red sox trade him”

        that’s a pretty key part of the comment…

        • Tko11 3 years ago

          Okay but that is like saying I’m sure the Red Sox would love Bryce Harper but doubt the Nationals trade him…pointless.

      • The A’s would need to sweeten the deal for Middlebrooks but as of right now Boston doesn’t look very good.  I could see a balfour, Colon, and Seth Smith for Middlebrook and a A ball pitcher.

        • absolutely not… Middlebrooks is not going anywhere, unless it’s part of a package for a King Felix type pitcher. If they were to go after Balfour, I would say Lars Anderson, Anthony Ranaudo, Alex Wilson, and Kolbrin Vitek are the names that come to mind. Ranaudo + Anderson and a PTBNL would be fair. With Aviles playing well and Bogaerts shooting up the rankings, I could also see Igleisias used as a trade chip.

          • Not going to get much of a player with any of those prospects.  Most likely you will get a cast off type player.  The redsox minor leagues are very thin. 

          • Tko11 3 years ago

            Very thin? Look up some farm rankings, their system isn’t that thin. Its not a great farm but not too bad either. 

          • No offense but I think you’re wrong here. Ranaudo is the number 3 prospect in their system and projects to be a top of the rotation starter. Based on what the Sox gave Oakland for Bailey, that would actually be TOO much value. Why would they have to give up more for Balfour than Bailey? Balfour is older, makes more money, not a legit closer, not under team control for as long, etc…

          • Tko11 3 years ago

            Middlebrooks 8 homeruns 25rbi so far looking really good right now. If they are still struggling by midseason I’d love to see them shop Youk and call up Middlebrooks. 

          • I don’t believe the Sox would have the ammunition to trade for someone like a Felix…or say outbid anyone for.
            They’re better off replacing Youk w/ Middlebrooks.

          • Agreed, just saying that there is absolutely no chance the Sox trade a future all-star 3B (who’s basically ready to be called up) for a 34 year old set up guy, a 39 year old starter, and a bench bat.

        • Tko11 3 years ago

          Hes 34 and a reliever!!! The A’s are not touching the Sox future third baseman. Colon is another old man who is off to a great start but hes old!!! Seth Smith is ok…not much of an improvement from Sweeny or Ross. 

  7. nats2012 3 years ago

    Balfour is a beast. I was hoping the Nats signed him when he was available. He is very underrated.

  8. I can only imagine what would have been if the Orioles had Balfour in their bullpen instead of Frick (Gonzalez) and Frack (Gregg) in 2011. Unlike Silver from down below, I would have been ecstatic to have him. The Orioles didn’t want to give up a draft choice so they signed Gregg instead. One other thing no other team in the league wanted to give up a draft choice either except the A’s.
    Balfour has a problem because the A’s really aren’t set-up to win this year and I think Balfour was mumbling and grumbling that he thought the A’s were going to try to win thus a conundrum was created.

    Also, I am surprised the Yankees didn’t try to keep Colon over Garcia. In my mind Garcia would have been kicked to the curb. I think Colon might hold together healthwise, but might tire out again by thye end of the season.

    I am not sure what either would bring in trade value to be honest.

    • Snoochies8 3 years ago

      i think that mlbtr had it close in respect to balfour, just a little high though. they might get a useful piece but without the complimentary pieces. 

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

       There really wasn’t any conundrum. Once Bailey and Co. got traded last offseason, it was somewhat of a known fact that Balfour was on his way out.

      Now that he’s getting save ops and not losing them to Bailey and Fuentes, his trade value’s going up (because closers are still overrated).

  9. crashcameron 3 years ago

    ‘no teams but A’s went after Balfour’
    damn, anti-Aussie-ites

  10. The A’s are going to be trading him for a first baseball that can play at the mlb level right away, or next season.  Personally I doubt they trade him this year.  More likely Colon, Crisp, Smith, or Suzuki(another doubt for this year).  

  11. Nicholas Schiaffino 3 years ago

    I’m a Bmore fan so I could care less,… but was thinking,.. Youk for Balfour might work.

  12. I doubt billy beane will trade him unless hes blown away like cahill, haren, gio gonzalez or the soon to be infamous andrew bailey trade. I believe oak picked up at least one good prospect out of the 2 they got plus reddick…

  13. btw i believe toronto will be in the thick of things if sergio recovers after injury..otherwise looks like drabek is gonna bloom this year

  14. melonis_rex 3 years ago

    “soon to be infamous”?

    It’s one injury. To a guy the Red Sox have for 3 years. Still too early to tell who “won” that trade.

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