Blue Jays Sign Darren Oliver

10:51am: Oliver is guaranteed a total of $4.5MM, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned.  He'll earn a $4MM salary in 2012 and the 2013 option has a $500K buyout.

9:43am: Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos made his biggest free agent signing in two-plus years at the helm, inking lefty reliever Darren Oliver to a one-year, $4MM deal.  The contract includes a $3MM club option for 2013, announced the team.  Oliver is represented by Jeff Frye.

Oliver

Oliver, 41, was a modified Type B free agent per the new collective bargaining agreement, meaning the Rangers will receive a supplemental first round draft pick as compensation (tentatively #51 overall). The Jays will not forfeit a pick. Oliver pitched to a 2.40 ERA in 112 1/3 innings for Texas the last two years, holding lefty batters to a .212/.250/.306 line during that time.  The Blue Jays have added Sergio Santos, Jason Frasor, and Oliver to their bullpen this offseason.

The Rangers and Angels expressed some interest in Oliver this offseason. The market for free agent lefty relievers is dwindling, with Mike Gonzalez and Arthur Rhodes representing the best of the remaining bunch.

T.R. Sullivan and Jon Heyman broke the story.  Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.  Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


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81 Comments on "Blue Jays Sign Darren Oliver"


jamesshamenski
3 years 6 months ago

Signing relievers is a great way to leur in great starters. With all of the short inning arms signed by the Jays, I have to think that a big name is coming. 

nm344
3 years 6 months ago

Yeah I can picture Cole Hamels next winter – Jays signed a 41 year old lefty?  Hellz yeah I’m joining that squad!

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
3 years 6 months ago

how does this make any sense

bjsguess
3 years 6 months ago

It doesn’t.

There are no big name starters left. And next year Oliver won’t on the team. 

What DOES lure big name starters is bucks. Lots of them. Considering that this is the BIGGEST FA signing of AA’s tenure to date I would be a little skeptical of him outbidding the Phils/Yankees/Sox, etc should Hammels (or any of the other big names) hit the market.

tfsmag
3 years 6 months ago

lol a precursor to giving up too much for Garza no doubt!

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

Angry3???  Where are you?  We await your rant.  If it pleases you, I can copy and paste it for you.

Infield Fly
3 years 6 months ago

You’re killin’ me here! 😀

[Sigh] If only there were a way to get him to troll a different fan base…of a different sport…(preferably in another dimension)…

Coollet
3 years 6 months ago

Do you mean the fourth dimension, time? Like when the internet wasn’t invented.

Infield Fly
3 years 6 months ago

Well…it’s a start…
😀

Coollet
3 years 6 months ago

Dont … feed… trolls…

Coollet
3 years 6 months ago

On the other hand, he is entertaining.

aroundinsound
3 years 6 months ago

Angry3 reincarnated by nm344, et al.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

nm344 is from Quebec. Wouldn’t be surprised if he is Angry3. Definitely mega trolling.

3 years 6 months ago

I am disappointed that my post made in jest was deleted, yet when Angry3 continually calls Jays fans stupid, they are kept in the comments section.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

I think my first reply to you caused the deletion. At first, you had me going LOL

crzycanuck
3 years 6 months ago

Bullpen looks good on paper.  All relievers had above-average stats last year.  Reacquiring Frasor was a good move too.  Having a real closer in Santos will help them cut down on the 25 BS from last year by maybe half.  Blue Jays are still a year or two from being strong contenders but if either Cecil and/or Drabek rediscover themselves and maybe adding a #2 or #3 starter, they have a good shot at a WC.  One thing is for certain:  Toronto will make some noise for the forseeable future.

rockfordone
3 years 6 months ago

you will learn to hate Santos – trust me

Coollet
3 years 6 months ago

“…Alex Anthopoulos’ most expensive free agent addition in two-plus seasons as Toronto’s GM.”

Its like if AA is allergic to free agents.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

Blue Jays   Darren Oliver      $4.00 mil
Blue Jays   Jason Frasor       $3.75 mil
Blue Jays   Jeff Mathis          $1.50 mil
Blue Jays   Ben Francisco      $1.50 mil (est)
Blue Jays   Sergio Santos      $1.00 mil
Red Sox     Nick Punto          $3.50 mil
Red Sox     Andrew Bailey     $3.50 mil (est)
Red Sox     Ryan Sweeney     $1.60 mil (est)
Red Sox     Kelly Shoppach   $1.35 mil
Red Sox     Mark Melancon    $0.44 mil
Yankees     Freddy Garcia      $4.00 mil
Yankees     Andruw Jones      $2.00 mil

All three teams are value shoppers this year.  They are simply relying on “smart” baseball operations to advance their team.

Yankees and Red Sox are the market makers.  As you can see by the list, they are making things easier for AA.

Edit – Must add future talent given up to acquire players.

Toronto – Nestor Molina, Brad Mills, Frank Gailey, Daniel Webb, & Miles Jaye

Boston – Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie, Kyle Weiland, Miles Head, & Raul Alcantara

Yankees – none.

It appears Boston is paying the heaviest price in future talent to acquire their players.

Bombastic_Dave
3 years 6 months ago

I find this really exciting.  It’s like a marathon race, with the teams all building the pace slowly and waiting for things to click with the team to spend the big money.  

When the Jays’ players all start producing together and have the majority of roles covered by reliable performers is when they’ll break out and buy.  It’ll be exciting.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

I like your analogy and share your excitement.  But, I don’t know how much Jays will break out the bank.  In the early 90s, Jays did not have to do “stupid” contracts to get Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, and Dave Stewart.  They signed to be on a winner.

Your comments imply some important points.  Blue Jays have to compete with Yankees and Red Sox in Baseball Operations (Trades & Contracts) and Future Talent to be competitive.  Tampa has set the standard in this area while Toronto (with JPR) has been woeful compared to Yankees and Red Sox.

In all likelihood, Toronto will have a payroll similar to Atlanta.  Fangraphs did an interesting analysis of all organizations.  They placed Toronto’s financial capacity in line with Atlanta ($89mil), Minnesota ($115mil), and White Sox ($120mil).  It should be noted White Sox only spent $2.75mil signing draft picks in 2011 while Toronto spent about $11mil.  We can add another $10mil to Toronto for amateur free agents.

* Edit * Had to add JPR qualification to Toronto’s woefulness

nm344
3 years 6 months ago

outspending everyone in the draft is a thing of the past.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

I doubt it.  It will just be capped by a luxury tax (and draft pick penalties) the same way Yankees and Red Sox have their payroll’s capped by luxury taxes.

nm344
3 years 6 months ago

The draft pick penalties are insane.  Noone is going over slot.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

You don’t have to go over slot to outspend teams in the draft.  White Sox and Tigers only spent $2.75mil on last year’s draft.

Jays spent $11mil which marginally exceeds Red Sox and Yankees.  However, they received better value.  They did not go over slot with their top picks.  But, did exceed slot with later round picks.  They can adjust and get similar results.

3 years 6 months ago

and they can also just hire more scouts and pour money into it that way.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

Yep….plus…Jays will simply get similar players at a lower price. The cap will not cause Tigers and White Sox to increase their spending from $2.75mil. Their spending is constrained by their overspending on MLB salaries.

So, the teams spending around $11mil to sign draft picks will keep their spending in check BUT still sign the same number of players. Jays never had a problem spending above slot on early picks.

Howard
3 years 6 months ago

 Kevin Cash former catcher signed on as a scout…

nm344
3 years 6 months ago

Pirates have been singing that tune for 17 years.

Bombastic_Dave
3 years 6 months ago

Nothing to do but hope and cheer.

Howard
3 years 6 months ago

 Exactly… dumping Teahan today on assignment is fine by me, too. We don’t need him. Plus he couldn’t fit on our 40 man roster with all the younger prospects continuously getting better. I think we’re done this offseason if we don’t end up finding a fair starting pitcher trade.

gradylittle
3 years 6 months ago

Eh, to be fair, all of the prospects that Red Sox have traded away were expendable in the first place, and none of them (maybe except for Reddick who’s already had big league time) don’t have the potential that Nestor Molina has. But we’ll see. 

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

Baseball America had Molina ranked 18th in Jays prospect list this year.  Last year, Reddick was ranked 7th for Red Sox.  Trading your 18th best prospect for a top closer under control for six years is a smart baseball operations move.

But, I agree with you on Molina’s upside potential.  We should not be surprised to see him higher up in the prospect list after another year.

Lunchbox45
3 years 6 months ago

 that was last years list..

Roll Fizzlebeef
3 years 6 months ago

From Jim Callis’ twitter:

No. 18. Deep system. @AlGibbons:disqus: where would Nestor Molina have ranked on #BlueJays top 10?

20 Dec

Molina would have been 18th had he not been traded for Santos.

Lunchbox45
3 years 6 months ago

No offense, but thats 1 persons opinion..

no way was molina ranked that far back after the year he had..

just to show you another side of the coin
Sickels had Molina rated #2, he really really felt strongly about his potential..

granted #2 was criticised for being overly aggressive.

but just playing devils avocate.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

BA probably played it conservative because Molina lacks the pedigree due to converting to pitching from short stop.

Last year, Henderson Alvarez, a similar player, was 17th and would have (according Jim Callis) placed 8th on this year’s list.

Just as important, Alvarez advanced from profiling last year as a 4th SP to a 2nd SP this year.  After 2012, Molina probably experiences similar advancements in his BA assessment.

Roll Fizzlebeef
3 years 6 months ago

I just think that the guy who is the executive editor at BA saying that Molina would end up 18th on a top 20 prospect list that was released the day before he was asked where Molina would go has some definite weight to it as a ranking.

Sickels’ scouting report was a little off the beaten path for what Molina got from around the league. He had his fastball up a few notches than everyone else and I think the potential on his offspeed stuff was given more praise. Just seemed weird that he was really high but everyone else was much lower.

Roll Fizzlebeef
3 years 6 months ago

From Jim Callis’ twitter:

No. 18. Deep system. @AlGibbons:disqus: where would Nestor Molina have ranked on #BlueJays top 10?

20 Dec

Molina would have been 18th had he not been traded for Santos.

rockfordone
3 years 6 months ago

The guy can’t close – one pitch pitcher – trust me – I saw him all of last year – blow four games in a week in Sept. and was benched

Yankees420
3 years 6 months ago

Are you talking about Santos? Because according to the game logs, he blew 2 saves in September, both against Detroit, but they were 11 days apart.  Also, he threw his slider almost 1/3 of the time in ’11 and it’s rated very well on fangraphs’ pitch values.

danistheguy
3 years 6 months ago

Shoot, if value shoppers are smart, then the Orioles are geniuses!

nm344
3 years 6 months ago

Jays look more and more like a penny-pinching cheapskate org.

HerbertAnchovy
3 years 6 months ago

Why? Because AA doesn’t needlessly spend on free agents but rather acquires player via trade? Your comment shows your ignorance and lack of knowledge in the matter.

nm344
3 years 6 months ago

Lets see how long that plan works. Ask Billy Beane how that’s worked out for him.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

You can’t compare Toronto to Oakland.  Toronto has outspent Boston and New York in signing draft picks and amateur free agents.  Oakland is not even close.  They are low budget all over the place.

If anything, Toronto is a hybrid of Atlanta and Tampa.  Toronto spends like Atlanta while mimicking Tampa’s baseball operations.

nm344
3 years 6 months ago

The ‘spending on draft picks’ ship has sailed with the new CBA.   Trades will only get you so far, although being a seller every august certainly helps.  At some point you have to make the jump and become a buyer and that includes spending on free agency.

Coollet
3 years 6 months ago

See the Rays

edit: they havent spent big on free agents and seem to do ok with the big boys

nm344
3 years 6 months ago

Rays are going to get hurt by the new CBA.

Coollet
3 years 6 months ago

That may be but i never count them out. Their org is probably the best run org. imagine if they had $$$$ how scary they would be (and their division! The orioles would never win :(

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

Yep…I will take smart baseball operations over mindless spending any day. Furthermore, many people fail to give credit to Yankees and Red Sox baseball operations.  Instead, they present a fallacy of mindless spending.

bjsguess
3 years 6 months ago

It doesn’t have to be either or. You can spend and have good baseball people. That will always trump just having good baseball people.

Tko11
3 years 6 months ago

Imagine they had a fan base!!

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

The new CBA seem to be causing Yankees and Red Sox to keep their spending in check.

bjsguess
3 years 6 months ago

You are talking apples to oranges. The Rays DID do very well in the past. They collected picks. Those picks did well and developed. Then they flipped effective ML talent for more minor league guys. 

The Rays basically represent the best case scenario – where virtually everything goes right. It is incredibly difficult to maintain long-term success with that model. I tip my cap Freidman and crew but would not bet on continued success for the next 5 years.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

Baseball history always shows strong franchises find ways to outdo other teams on gaining future talent.

vilifyingforce
3 years 6 months ago

When the team is good enough to make that step I’ll let you know. Obviously you don’t recognize a rebuilding club.

HerbertAnchovy
3 years 6 months ago

Ok. Wait, I don’t have his digits anymore….damn.

bjsguess
3 years 6 months ago

Needlessly?

I must have missed the recent playoff births that the Jays have had.

Needlessly would be spending unnecessary resources in order to achieve success. Last check the Jays have not had ANY success. They really could use some more talent on their squad. Spending for the sake of spending is silly. Spending to improve your team is prudent.

As for others discussing spending on the draft – please. The Jays have had a ton of picks because they smartly manipulated the old rules with Type A FA relievers. Those days are over. The draft is a level playing field when it comes to spending. Sure they can scout better but that is an incredibly subjective measurement. Is there any evidence to suggest that the Jays do better at scouting and talent development than other highly regarded systems?

vilifyingforce
3 years 6 months ago

The Jays are rebuilding and there is still several question marks with young-ish players. Until LF, CF, 1B, and a 2-5 in the rotation is settled I really don’t see the point in making a big splash in FA. Why spend on expensive FA’s when there is still potential to be figured out on the roster?

3 years 6 months ago

Given the difficulty in translating draft picks into MLB ready players by ANY team, multiple scouts and multiple looks have got to increase your probability of success (or reduce the failure risk)

allstev
3 years 6 months ago

Cubs and Mets look less and less like playoff teams..big payroll isn’t be all end all.

Jon Melton
3 years 6 months ago

Everyone knows Rogers has the money, but you wonder when its a company as opposed to an individual owner is it more difficult to agree on spending?

Lunchbox45
3 years 6 months ago

100,000%

3 years 6 months ago

An absolute monarch wouldn’t have to bother with Congress.

LA
3 years 6 months ago

4 million is the largest AA has spend on FA but the team looks 10 times better than when he took over? #Winning

bjsguess
3 years 6 months ago

Mainly because of one thing – no Vernon Wells. The Jays have averaged 83 wins in AA’s two seasons. 2012 is shaping up to be more of the same.

Those 83 wins are right in line with JP’s tenure. 

AA started by having the luxury of obtaining talent for the best pitcher in baseball. Any GM would restock their system if they had Halladay as a trading chip. Bautista was brought in under JP. AA simply reaped the benefits of that move. 

This isn’t to knock AA – I just don’t understand this love fest that is going on. He absolutely scored with the Vernon Wells deal but aside from that I’m struggling to see where AA is just killing it. 

Coollet
3 years 6 months ago

AA has more patiences than a bear

grownice
3 years 6 months ago

I’m guessing the option is 3 million with a 300 k buyout.

grownice
3 years 6 months ago

The Bautista extention even tho he wasnt a FA has to be mentioned considering if wells isn’t traded do you think AA goes forth with that extention? I doubt it.

Sharky17
3 years 6 months ago

Great comments folks. very good site to view. Glad to be a part of it.

Coollet
3 years 6 months ago

This website shames other sites (such as TSN) with the knowledge that the fans display (the writers are also of high quality).

LA
3 years 6 months ago

I have MLBtraderumors automatically send me text messages for each rumor to my phone(from twitter). The Best website for Baseball rumors by far!!

Lucas Kschischang
3 years 6 months ago

 TSN is the woooorssst ever. EVER.

Jade Mcdermott
3 years 6 months ago

Man I am mad at alot of stuff the blue jays do but I like this signing I no he is old but he has been good in the pen for alot of years

3 years 6 months ago

Wow! TOR has the team they do and THIS is AA’s largest free agent signing?! Wow! I can’t wait for him to have some money to spend. This team is going to be good.

3 years 6 months ago

wouldnt you go out and get a guy like this when your a serioius contender?

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

Yep….and if the Jays have miscalculated their progress, they have a great trade asset at trade deadline for “serious contenders”.

Perhaps you should be more explicit if you are pointing out a downside to this deal.

cyberboo
3 years 6 months ago

It always makes me laugh at people that put money ahead of talent and figure you have to throw away huge amounts in payroll to have a good team.  I did a comparison to see where the Jays should be, if AA was like everyone else and threw money at players. I only used players signed long term or potentially long term.

Bautista – 14M per season, easily 25M on another team. 
Romero – 5M – easily 18 – 25M with stats comparable to other aces.
Lind – 5M – could easily be 12 – 14M, based on home runs and RBI’s potential.
Escobar – 5M – a top 5 shortstop that would easily make 15M on another team.
Morrow – compares to Jackson and he wants 16M per season. Morrow is a long term candidate and I doubt if he comes close to what Boras is asking for Jackson.

In reality, the Jays have spent 35M on the players listed, where if those players were on a big market team, they would be 94M against the payroll. The team saved 60M in payroll, but the talent remains the same.  That is the sign of a great front office, who refuse to overpay for talent like other teams.  It allows the team to sign all their core players to similar deals and it costs 80M, but they have a 200M payroll team in talent on the field.  Wise spending yields the same results, without throwing away millions of dollars in waste, with the creation of albatross contracts that hurt teams in the future.  Five years plus an option is more than enough years for any player, regardless who they are. 

Teams are learning and you now see teams signing players long term, which yields substantial below-market value for many players.  Those same players are now turning into high potential returns when they get traded, before the contracts expire or they get expensive.  What fans need to realize, players possess the same talent, regardless if they make 1M or 25M and dollar signs don’t improve their performance.  In most cases, they fail to achieve the performance that justifies the money they are given.

bjsguess
3 years 6 months ago

You are missing the most important piece in your analysis – those guys are NOT FA’s. You cannot compare money spent on arb guys to money those folks would have earned on the open market. Look at the value that Pedroia or Cano bring to the Yanks and Red Sox. They are cheap because they are controllable. 
 
The second part that is way off is your evaluation of compensation. If those guys hit the FA market the prices would be much, much lower. Is someone going to pay Bautista $25m on a long-term deal. No way. Pujols didn’t get that much. Romero is worth $25m? What? Escobar at $15m. I mean the entire list is completely inflated.

Signing players to long-term deals is not always beneficial. However, for teams like the Jays/Rays, etc there is simply no other viable strategy. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I can find plenty of long-term arb/pre-arb signings that have NOT worked out. They just don’t receive as much attention because when you swing and miss with the deals the impacts aren’t as great.

johnsmith4
3 years 6 months ago

So…isn’t it smarter to focus on guys in their Arb years?  Especially when there are teams who can’t afford them because of low budgets or big budgets which are maxed out?

These Arb year players will be more readily available because of the new CBA.  Teams are no longer have the incentive to hang onto them to get Type B compensation.  In addition, there is more risk associated with Type A compensation with the higher qualifying offer requirement.