Darren Oliver Rumors
Jeff Frye, Darren Oliver's agent, was apparently not speaking for his client when Frye said earlier this month that Oliver wanted a raise to return to the Blue Jays or else the veteran southpaw would retire, Oliver said during a conference call with reporters (including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca). "I was out of town when that article was written, and I didn't say those things, that was coming from Jeff Frye," Oliver said. "Obviously if I had something to say, I would have said it a long time ago, not once did I ever demand anything from the Blue Jays or Alex [GM Alex Anthopoulos]." The Jays announced today that Oliver would return to pitch in Toronto in 2013.
Here are some more items from around the AL East...
- David Price's one-year deal with the Rays was structured in a way that both saved Price several hundred thousand dollars in taxes and also gave the Rays the ability to potentially save $4MM in salary deferred to Price in 2014 if the southpaw is dealt by then, reports Jon Paul Morosi for FOX Sports.
- Price loves playing in Tampa Bay but knows the franchise has financial limits and feels a responsibility to get a fair multiyear contract, the Rays ace tells Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown. "I don't want to mess up for the future of other guys that could be in my position as well," Price said. "You don't want to do that, because that's not only affecting you, that affects everybody else. I want to be happy. I don't want to sell myself short. I guess 'appreciation' is the word I could use the most. I just want to feel appreciated."
- The Red Sox talked to the Nationals about Mike Morse but Washington's asking price was too high, reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Now that Morse has been dealt to the Mariners, Abraham wonders if Mike Carp is now expendable in Seattle and could fit as left-handed bench depth in Boston.
- Xander Bogaerts is "as close to untouchable as any player in the Boston organization," writes CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam in an interview with the highly-touted Red Sox prospect. Sox GM Ben Cherington reportedly turned down several trade offers involving Bogaerts this winter.
- Mark Hendrickson looked good during a tryout at the Orioles' minicamp today and will pitch again for the team on Friday, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. We heard earlier this week that Hendrickson is trying to return to the Major Leagues as a sidearm pitcher.
- In AL East news from earlier today, the Orioles extended Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette, the Yankees avoided arbitration with Phil Hughes and the Red Sox made progress with Mike Napoli.
The Blue Jays announced that left-hander Darren Oliver will return to the team in 2013. The 42-year-old reliever will earn $3MM this coming season, as the Blue Jays exercised his option earlier in the offseason.
Oliver, a Frye McCann Sports client, wanted the Blue Jays to increase his salary, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported this month. The veteran reportedly planned to retire if Toronto didn't give him a bump from his $3MM salary and sources indicated that he would have welcomed a trade back to the Rangers as his family lives in the area.
Instead of calling it quits or being traded elsewhere, he'll return for a 20th MLB season without a raise. Oliver posted a 2.06 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 56 2/3 innings this past season. Despite his advanced age, Oliver has made more than 60 relief appearances in each of the past four seasons.
The Rangers have spoken to the Blue Jays about acquiring left-hander Darren Oliver but a trade between the two clubs isn't likely, industry sources tell MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. We heard earlier this week that Oliver would retire unless the Blue Jays paid him more than his agreed-upon $3MM salary in 2013, and Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has said the team isn't interested in re-negotiating the deal.
Oliver has been on the fence about retirement all winter but seemed to be willing to continue into his 20th Major League season if he either received a pay bump from Toronto or if he could play for the Rangers, as the veteran lefty lives in the Dallas area. Oliver was originally drafted by the Rangers in 1988 and has pitched 317 games for Texas over three separate stints with the team.
It isn't surprising that Texas and Toronto can't come to an agreement given the unique circumstances of Oliver's situation. The Blue Jays probably aren't inclined to both help an AL Wild Card rival and do Oliver a favor unless the Rangers made a very generous offer, and while Oliver is coming off perhaps the best season of his long career, one figures Texas won't give much up for a 42-year-old relief pitcher.
As Sullivan outlines, Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman are slated to be the Rangers' main left-handed relievers, with Neal Cotts and Jeff Beliveau also serving as lefty options heading into Spring Training. If Ross becomes a starting pitcher, Martin Perez (another southpaw) could rejoin the bullpen.
After introducing R.A. Dickey to the Toronto media, GM Alex Anthopoulos discussed the composition of his team and the possibility of more offseason moves. Here are some highlights...
- The Blue Jays haven’t heard a final decision from Darren Oliver, who’s weighing retirement against a $3MM salary. Anthopoulos said he’d be pleased to have the left-hander back, though retirement now seems more likely. “If Darren wants to choose to come back we would certainly honor that,” Anthopoulos said. “We would be thrilled to have him.” Anthopoulos suggested Oliver could be placed on the restricted list if he doesn’t report to Spring Training on time or officially file for retirement. If Oliver doesn’t return, the Blue Jays don’t necessarily have $3MM to spend elsewhere.
- Oliver, a Frye McCann Sports client, wants the Blue Jays to increase his salary, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported this month.
- One of the leading reasons the Blue Jays acquired catcher Josh Thole along with Dickey was because he has experience catching the knuckleballer. “The thought is that Josh has had so much success with [Dickey], why break that up,” the GM said.
- Anthopoulos didn’t rule out the possibility of extending players in the coming months, but he stressed that such deals are possible at any time. And don’t expect much advance warning. “If we’re talking extensions [the media] will be the last to know if I have any say in it,” Anthopoulos said.
- The Blue Jays are looking at ways of adding a right-handed bench player capable of playing multiple infield positions. That said, they’re considering leaving the spot open because players will inevitably become available toward the end of Spring Training when teams need roster space and out of options players get traded.
- The Blue Jays could still add to their bullpen, though Anthopoulos said he expects to move forward with what he has. The GM has had some trade talks “on a few fronts” about the possibility, but those discussions haven’t progressed.
- In case you missed it, Anthopoulos and Dickey are optimistic about the 2013 season.
FRIDAY: Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com's Chris Toman that he doesn't expect to renegotiate Oliver's contract. "I don't want to really get into the trade talk; things can happen," said the GM. "As far as restructuring his contract, I would never say never, but his contract is his contract. That's what we signed him to ... I don't see us doing that."
THURSDAY: Left-hander Darren Oliver has been contemplating retirement for most of the winter, but his decision is more complicated than it might appear. The 42-year-old wants to play, but is not willing to return to the Blue Jays unless they increase his salary from $3MM, major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
Oliver would welcome a trade back to the Rangers as his family lives in the Dallas area, according to sources. The veteran is coming off of the best season of his long career and does not want to take a pay cut in the follow-up campaign. However, the Blue Jays are over budget and are unwilling to give him a pay bump. A source says that Toronto has stretched their budget so far that they might have to cut in other areas just to pay Oliver his original $3MM salary.
Oliver signed a one-year, $4MM deal with the Blue Jays last January with a $3MM option for 2013 that could have been bought out for $500K. Sources tell Rosenthal that Oliver signed the deal knowing that he would likely call it career after 2012. A trade to the Rangers could satisfy all parties involved, however, as Oliver would be more flexible in his financial demands if he is closer to home.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Blue Jays have been very busy this offseason swinging a 12-player trade with the Marlins, acquiring R.A. Dickey from the Mets, and signing Melky Cabrera and Maicer Izturis. MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm touched on what these moves mean for the franchise and the other roster decisions that still need to be addressed when he recently opened his inbox.
- This offseason will determine the legacy of GM Alex Anthopoulos, not based on the timeline of winning but on the amount of money spent. Chisholm writes it's a similar investment to the one former GM J.P. Ricciardi made in 2006 by signing A.J. Burnett, B.J. Ryan and trading for the likes of Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay. When those big moves didn't pan out, it reflected negatively on Ricciardi and ultimately led to his firing.
- Darren Oliver is still leaning toward retirement and the Blue Jays aren't expecting to hear a final decision until January.
- Anthony Gose is set to begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo with Rajai Davis assuming the role of fourth outfielder and late-game pinch-runner.
- The Blue Jays have one bench opening left to fill. With the versatility of Davis, Izturis, and Emilio Bonifacio, look for that final spot to go to somone invited to Spring Training on a minor league contract.
- In a separate article, Chisholm writes J.P. Arencibia has solidified his spot in the Toronto lineup for the forseeable future. Anthopoulos made the rare move of reaching out to Arencibia telling him not to concern himself with the trade rumors. "Not only does that make me feel good, but it makes you want to go out and work harder, go the extra mile and go the extra distance for this organization," Arencibia told Chisholm. "If they tell me I need to run through a wall, I'm going to try and run through that wall."
The Winter Meetings rumors continue to fly in, so let's round up another batch of them....
- The Rockies have told reps for free agents that they're attempting to acquire a pitcher via trade, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Colorado would also like to bring back Jeff Francis on a minor league deal, tweets Renck.
- Although he indicated last night that Emilio Bonifacio could be available, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets today that the Blue Jays don't want to move him, "at least not yet."
- Darren Oliver remains undecided about whether he'll play in 2013, and hasn't requested a trade, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Blue Jays have exercised their '13 team option on the left-hander.
- The Astros are planning to take two players in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- The Mariners remain in play for virtually every available hitter, tweets Knobler. Among their targets is Raul Ibanez, who the M's are "pushing" for, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Ibanez would prefer to rejoin the Yankees, but New York hasn't been as aggressive as Seattle, tweets Sherman.
- According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Yankees bid higher than the White Sox for Jeff Keppinger, but the utility infielder chose Chicago.
- In addition to Keppinger, the White Sox plan to bring in another infielder and a catcher, assuming A.J. Pierzynski leaves, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
- The Blue Jays are "leaning toward" hiring a manager with Major League experience, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. This would seem to make Jim Riggleman and Don Wakamatsu the favorites among the known contenders, as ex-managers Jim Tracy and Manny Acta reportedly aren't under consideration and candidates such as Sandy Alomar, Tim Wallach and DeMarlo Hale have never managed in the bigs. Rosenthal notes that the Jays could still hire a non-experienced manager if "they are unimpressed by the more seasoned options."
- Darren Oliver is "not sure at all and he's in no rush to make a decision" about playing in 2013, Oliver's agent Jeff Frye tells Sportnet.ca's Shi Davidi. The veteran reliever has hinted about retiring, though the Blue Jays exercised their $3MM option on Oliver yesterday to retain Oliver's rights in case the southpaw does return.
- The Orioles declined Mark Reynolds' $11MM option yesterday, though CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff thinks the two sides will eventually agree to a new two-year deal for Reynolds given the Orioles' lack of depth at first base.
- The Orioles have selected the contract of right-hander Zach Clark and added him to the 40-man roster, according to a team press release. The 29-year-old Clark has a 3.68 ERA in 171 career minor league games (116 of them starts), including a combined 2.79 ERA in 167 2/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A last season.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said during an appearance on WEEI Radio's Red Sox Hot Stove Show today that the team would like to add a new pitcher to the rotation without dealing any of their own pitching prospects. The Sox have several internal options for the bullpen but Cherington "would not rule out" adding a new reliever as well. (Both links are via the Twitter account of WEEI.com's Alex Speier.)
- The Red Sox should pursue Nick Swisher, Ryan Madson and Mike Napoli this winter, as well as an innings-eating starting pitcher on a short-term contract suggests Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe as part of his five proposals to upgrade the Sox on the free agent market.
- The Red Sox and David Ortiz are still "not very close" to a new contract, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. The two sides have reportedly been discussing a new two-year deal recently.
- The Yankees have some interest in Torii Hunter, reports Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News (on Twitter). Since the Angels are unlikely to make Hunter a qualifying offer, it wouldn't cost a draft pick to sign him.
- Earlier today the Blue Jays exercised their $3MM option for Darren Oliver, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears that the veteran left-hander is still leaning towards retirement (Twitter link).
- The Marlins looked into trading for Ervin Santana before the Royals acquired the right-hander earlier today, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
- Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer listed the pros and cons of some free agent corner outfielders who could be of interest to the Phillies.
The Blue Jays have exercised their 2013 option for left-hander Darren Oliver, the team announced. The club also declined their option for Rajai Davis, but re-signed him to a one-year deal worth $2.5MM.
Oliver, 42, pitched to a 2.06 ERA in 56 2/3 innings this season. He'll earn $3MM next year. The 32-year-old Davis hit .257/.309/.378 with 46 stolen bases this year. His club option was worth $3MM.