Thearon W. Henderson
Balfour will rage on in Oakland, but the team will have to renegotiate a new contract with Drew if they want him back for 2013.
#Athletics exercise option on Grant Balfour for 2013; decline option on Stephen Drew.— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) October 29, 2012
Balfour racked up 24 saves and ranked fifth in the American League with 75 appearances. The 34-year-old posted a 2.53 ERA and struck out 72 batters in 74 2/3 innings. Since blooming with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010, Balfour's has been among baseball's better relievers, making his option a no-brainer for Oakland.
Drew, who was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 20, hit .250/.326/.382 in 39 games with the A's. Oakland traded away Cliff Pennington earlier this month, acquiring outfielder Chris Young but creating a need for middle infield help. Drew played in 79 games in 2012 and 86 the year before, missing time due to a fractured ankle.
The crew at Athletic's Nation concluded that "Surely, this could indicate the A's are in the midst of a multi-year deal with Drew to bring him back to Oakland."