Darren Oliver Rumors

AL West Notes: Oliver, Angels, Mariners

Let's round up some links from baseball's only four-team division…

  • Darren Oliver is leaning strongly towards returning in 2012, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan"After what happened this year, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth," said Oliver. "I don't think I want it to end like that." The Rangers lefty is a Type-A free agent.
  • The Angels have signed Dominican outfielders Ayendi Perez and Ranyemi Alberto Mendoza according to a press release from the Dominican Prospect League. Perez signed for $25K while Mendoza signed for $70K.
  • The Mariners officially announced the hiring of Chris Gwynn as director of player development in a press release. Gwynn is Tony's brother, and he had previously been working in the Padres front office.

Rangers Notes: Oliver, Levine, Prospects

C.J. Wilson and the Rangers open this year’s World Series in St. Louis tomorrow night and Nolan Ryan is predicting a Rangers series win in six games. Here’s the latest on the American League champions as we await the first pitch…

  • Rangers left-hander Darren Oliver told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he would like to play again in 2012. The 41-year-old posted a 2.29 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 51 innings this year, so he'll likely have suitors when he hits free agency in the offseason.
  • As Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post shows, Thad Levine’s father had a major impact on his development as a baseball person. Levine, now the Rangers’ assistant GM, grew up following the Orioles with his father. I interviewed Levine about his development in the game for our series on MLB GM candidates.
  • Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com takes stock of the Rangers' farm system and says they have more talented players on the way, even after trading prospects to bolster the bullpen this summer. Tanner Scheppers and Neil Ramirez are among the Rangers' intriguing minor league arms.
  • I touched on Wilson and the Rangers’ bullpen in a radio appearance on 1570 The Score in Appleton, WI earlier this afternoon.

Oldest Current MLB Players

Generally speaking, young players tend to have athleticism, upside and a salary right around the MLB minimum. It’s no wonder that teams tend to gravitate to those players when constructing their rosters. There’s not much demand for aging, positionless sluggers in this era, yet a small group of older players are contributing to winning teams. In honor of Jason Giambi’s three-homer game, here’s a comprehensive list of every 40-plus player to don an MLB uniform in 2011:

  • Tim Wakefield (44) – The knuckleballer is once again a member of Boston's rotation. He has a 5.40 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 23 1/3 innings this year.
  • Omar Vizquel (44) – The active leader in games played is showing few signs of age. Vizquel isn't on this list for his bat, but his .327/.358/.388 line is excellent. The 11-time Gold Glove winner has played second, short and third this year.
  • Matt Stairs (43) – Stairs, who figures to DH in interleague play this weekend, needs to turn his season around. The New Brunswick native has just two hits and six walks in 28 plate appearances. Give Stairs credit for staying in the majors this long; Bryce Harper wasn’t even born when Stairs made his MLB debut with the ’92 Expos.
  • Takashi Saito (41) – Before hitting the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, Saito appeared in just two games for the Brewers.
  • Mariano Rivera (41) – How is Rivera this effective at 41? He leads the league in saves (13) and has a 1.80 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9. His average fastball still checks in at over 91 mph.
  • Arthur Rhodes (41) – Rhodes hasn't quite matched his 2010 performance so far, but a 3.97 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 isn't bad at any age.
  • Craig Counsell (40) – The 16-year veteran has a .234/.321/.255 line in 55 plate appearances at second, third, short and left field. Consider that the average MLB shortstop has a .254/.312/.361 line and Counsell's numbers look a little better.
  • Jason Giambi (40) – Giambi has an unusual .194/.306/.581 line after his three-homer game.
  • Miguel Batista (40) – Batista has a 1.69 ERA through 16 innings despite having an equal number of walks and strikeouts (9).
  • Darren Oliver (40) – Oliver has a 2.95 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 in 18 1/3 innings of relief. He and Rhodes provide the Rangers with a pair of dependable lefty relievers.
  • Jim Thome (40) – After a tremendous 2010 season, Thome's numbers have fallen off and he has spent time on the disabled list. He hit a pair of homers and posted a .214/.333/.375 line before hitting the DL with an oblique strain.


Darren Oliver’s 2011 Option Vests

Darren Oliver will be back with the Rangers in 2011. The left-hander's $3.25MM option vested when he pitched a scoreless inning and struck a batter out in last night's game. That kind of performance has been the norm for Oliver, who turns 40 next month. He has a 2.50 ERA on the season with 9.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. As a result, the Rangers probably would have picked the option up even if it hadn't vested.

Oliver, who is now in his 17th big league season, began his MLB career with the Rangers in 1993 on a team that included current team president Nolan Ryan. Like Ryan, Oliver is enjoying success late into his career. The 2010 season has arguably been his best since moving to the 'pen full-time in 2004.


Odds & Ends: Sandberg, Werth, Mets, Drabek, Dunn

Links for Sunday, as Chris Volstad goes for his fifth win vs. the Nationals this season….


Trever Miller’s 2011 Option Vests

By entering the Cardinals-Giants game Saturday night, lefty reliever Trever Miller reached 45 appearances on the season.  The appearance was nothing special, as Miller threw four pitches to Aubrey Huff and allowed a single.  But the outing was signficant for Miller, as it caused his $2MM option for 2011 to vest.

According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, Miller's option will revert back to the club's choice if he spends time on the DL with a left arm or shoulder injury.  He hasn't pitched well this year, but only needs about one more month of good health.

Meanwhile, the Rangers' Darren Oliver needs seven more appearances for his $3.25MM option to vest for next year.


2011 Vesting Options Update

We began the season with nine potential vesting options for 2011, but they're dropping like flies.  With Alex Cora and Magglio Ordonez now off the board, we look at the remaining three:

  • Trever Miller, Cardinals.  The lefty needs 45 appearances for his $2MM option to vest, and he's made 41 on the season.  He could lock in next year's salary within a week, though a DL-worthy left arm or shoulder injury changes this to a club option. 
  • Darren Oliver, Rangers.  Oliver needs 59 appearances for his $3.25MM option to vest, and he's got 46 so far.  Barring injury, he'll get there.
  • Ramon Hernandez, Reds.  Hernandez needs 120 games for his $3.25MM option to vest.  He's played in 65 so far.  The Reds have only 50 games remaining, so we can cross this one off the list.
  • An honorable mention goes to Billy Wagner, whose $6.5MM option vests with 50 games finished.  Wagner has finished 46 so far.  However just last month he repeated his desire to retire after the season.  Having a guaranteed salary for 2011 might not sway Wagner, since he would've made at least that much on the free agent market anyway.  But what if he finishes the season just shy of the fourth spot on the all-time saves leaderboard?  He's currently 12 away from John Franco, who finished with 424.
  • Also of note is Scott Podsednik, who needs 525 plate appearances to be able to void his $2MM club option.  Pods is 41 PAs shy of that mark.

Odds & Ends: Haren, Cordero, Phillies, Rangers

Links for Wednesday, as Pedro Alvarez keeps clubbing homers…


2011 Vestings Options Update

The season started with nine vesting options to watch, but we're down to just five a little beyond the season's halfway point…

  • Trever Miller, Cardinals. The southpaw's $2MM option vests with 45 appearances. He's appeared in 31 of the team's 85 games, so he's on pace for 59. He should get there easily.
  • Alex Cora, Mets. Cora's $2MM option vests with 80 games (not necessarily starts), and he's already appeared in 48. He's on pace for 91 games. Luis Castillo's foot and Ruben Tejada's emergence could stand in Cora's way.
  • Darren Oliver, Rangers. His $3.25MM option will lock in with 59 appearances. He's already appeared in 37 games, so he should get there without a problem.
  • Ramon Hernandez, Reds. Hernandez must play in 120 games for his $3.25MM option to vest. He's appeared in just 57 of Cincinnati's first 86 contests, putting him on pace for 107 games. 
  • Magglio Ordonez, Tigers. Ordonez's $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances. He's on pace for 141 and 615, respectively, so it'll take a lengthy stint on the disabled list to knock him off track.

The vesting options for Kerry Wood, Brian Fuentes, Billy Wagner, and Matt Cain have already been addressed.


2011 Vesting Options Update

11:33am: ESPN's Adam Rubin explained in a chat today that Cora's option vests with 80 games rather than 80 starts.  Cora is on pace to play more than 90 games this year.

8:32am: We entered the season with nine vesting options to watch, but we're already down to five.  Let's take a look.

  • Trever Miller, Cardinals.  The lefty's $2MM option vests with 45 games.  So far he's appeared in 17 of the team's 52 games, putting him on pace for 53.  Miller appeared in ten games in May and is back on track. 
  • Alex Cora, Mets.  Cora's $2MM option vests with 80 starts.  He's started 19 of the team's 52 games, putting him on pace for 59 starts.  Cora will need to make about 15 starts per month from here on out to reach the target.  His 2011 contract may depend on Luis Castillo's foot problems and reduced playing time against righties
  • Darren Oliver, Rangers.  Oliver's $3.25MM option vests with 59 appearances.  He's made 24 in the team's first 50 games, putting him on pace for about 78. 
  • Ramon Hernandez, Reds.  Hernandez's $3.25MM option vests with 120 games played.  He's played in 33 of 52, putting him on pace for 103.  He'll need about 22 games per month to hit the target.  Ryan Hanigan's broken thumb is a factor.
  • Magglio Ordonez, Tigers.  His $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances.  He's on pace for 156 games and 658 PAs, so even a DL stint wouldn't necessarily prevent Ordonez from locking in his 2011 salary.
  • As a reminder, the vesting options for Brian Fuentes, Billy Wagner, Matt Cain, and Kerry Wood have already been addressed