Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics (RP)
An enticing, although not as likely, trade possibility for the Red Sox is Oakland A’s pitcher Grant Balfour. Balfour has been the show-stopper for the A’s this year, who are currently neck-and-neck with the Texas Rangers for first place in the AL West. Balfour has 19 saves and an ERA of 1.97 (it was 1.17 before a rough three-run outing against the Seattle Mariners on June 23).
Still, Balfour is one of the best relievers in the American League, and it would seem counterproductive at this point for Oakland to trade away its closer, even with his contract being up at the end of this season. But Billy Beane, the A’s general manager, has been known to make stranger trades in the past, so Balfour’s situation will definitely be re-evaluated depending on how the A’s perform throughout the month of July , and where they stand in the pennant race come the July 31 trade deadline.