Two of the big cogs to the Oakland Athletics’ run to a second straight American League West Division title will be allowed to test free agency with no compensation coming back.
The A’s on Monday opted to not extend the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer to right-handers Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour, according to CBSSports.com.
Monday at 2 p.m. local time is the deadline to extend the offer to type A or type B free agents in order to receive draft pick and draft pool cash compensation should the player decide to sign with another team.
Colon, 40, was an All-Star in 2013 and was 18-6 for the A’s with a 2.65 ERA and 1.166 WHIP in 30 starts. In 190.1 innings, Colon struck out 117 and recovered nicely from missing the end of the 2012 season after being suspended for a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.
In two years with the A’s, Colon was 28-15 in 54 starts, posting a 2.99 ERA and 1.185 WHIP in 342.2 innings, with 208 strikeouts.
Colon lost his only postseason start for Oakland, allowing three runs on 10 hits in six innings of the A’s 3-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. Oakland manager Bob Melvin opted to bypass Colon for Game 5 in favor of rookie Sonny Gray.
Balfour, who will be 36 next month, spent three years with Oakland, the last two as the A’s closer. He was selected for his first All-Star Game in 2013, when he was 1-3 with 38 saves in 41 opportunities. Balfour appeared in 65 games and worked 62.2 innings and had a 2.59 ERA and 1.197 WHIP with 72 strikeouts.
He saved 62 games over the last two seasons and in his three years in Oakland was 9-7 with 64 saves and a 2.53 ERA and 1.043 WHIP. In 202 appearances, he pitched 199.1 innings and struck out 203.
Balfour had a win and a save in three appearances in the ALDS, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced and surrendering just one walk and no hits.
Colon was originally signed as an international free agent by the Cleveland Indians in 1993 and made his MLB debut for the Indians in 1997. He was traded to the Montreal Expos in 2002 in a deal that sent prospects Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore to Cleveland, and was dealt to the Chicago White Sox in January 2003.
Colon signed with the Anaheim Angels as a free agent in 2003 and was the AL Cy Young winner with the Angels in 2005, when he was 21-8 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.159 WHIP in 33 starts and 222.2 innings.
His career was derailed by injuries for the next four seasons with the Angels, Boston Red Sox and a second stint with the White Sox. From 2006-09, Colon was just 14-21 with a 5.18 ERA and 1.506 WHIP and made just 48 appearances, 47 starts, and worked 257 innings.
Colon sat out the 2010 season but returned with the New York Yankees in 2011 to go 8-10 in 29 appearances, 26 of them starts, with a 4.00 ERA and 1.290 WHIP in 164.1 innings before signing as a free agent with the A’s that offseason.
Balfour, an Australian, was originally signed by the Minnesota Twins in 1997. He reached the big leagues with the Twins in 2001 and was granted free agency after missing all of 2005 with an injury. He pitched in the Cincinnati Reds organization in 2006 before he was claimed on waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers in October 2006. The Brewers dealt him to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in July 2007 and his career flourished, as he was a valuable reliever on the Tampa Bay Rays team that reached the 2008 World Series. He signed as a free agent with Oakland in January 2011.