The A’s announced Monday that they will not extend qualifying offers to free-agent pitchers Bartolo Colon or Grant Balfour.
Such an offer would have guaranteed a $14.1 million salary to either player had they accepted it. Had they rejected, the A’s would have received a draft pick as compensation from any team that signed them.
It’s no surprise the A’s chose not to offer either player. Colon will turn 41 in May, and it’s understandable they were hesitant to dangle a $14.1 million salary for a pitcher that age, even though Colon won 18 games in 2013 and posted the American League’s second-lowest ERA (2.65) among starters. The A’s traditionally have not sunk big money into closers, so there was little chance Balfour – who turns 36 next month -- would get a qualifying offer.
The A’s hold exclusive negotiating rights with both free agents until 8:59 p.m. Monday night. Then both players are free to sign with any team. The A’s can still negotiate with either player after that. Colon is the much more likely bet, though if he receives offers from other teams in the neighborhood of $14 million annually, consider him good as gone.