The Athletics have announced that they will not extend qualifying offers to free agents Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour. Neither player will require a new team to sacrifice a draft pick this winter. The move isn't surprising, given the $14.1MM value of a qualifying offer.
Colon would've been more likely to earn a qualifying offer than Balfour. The 40-year-old enjoyed a dominant season in which he pitched to a 2.65 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 190 1/3 innings for the A's. Colon earned a $3MM base salary and totaled another $2.4MM via incentives for games started and innings pitched, so the $14.1MM value would've been a substantial increase over his 2013 salary. Still, he projects to earn a healthy increase from that $5.4MM total on the open market. Colon and the A's have expressed mutual interest, and Colon feels that he can pitch for another three seasons.
Balfour, 36 in December, saved 38 games for the A's in 2013 en route to a sparkling 2.59 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9, earning his first All-Star berth in the process. I pegged his open-market value at $18MM over two years in my free agent profile of Balfour, though that should come with the caveat that there are more closers than jobs availble this winter. If he's left standing in January, Balfour won't be able to land that type of cash, so it would behoove him and agent Keith Miller of ACES to find a deal early on in the free agent process.