Darren Oliver Rumors
The Tigers have a magic number of one tonight, which means a win over the Royals or a White Sox loss would be enough to send Detroit to the postseason for the second consecutive year. Here are today's links as we await a full slate of games Monday night...
- Agents Jeff Frye and Mike McCann have joined together, MLBTR has learned. Frye McCann Sports represents MLB players such as Mark Lowe, Darren Oliver, Shawn Kelley, Michael Saunders, Adam Moore and Stephen Pryor. Check out MLBTR’s Agency Database for details on all player representatives, including Frye, the eight-year MLB veteran, and McCann.
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post profiles Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, detailing the journey he took from area scout to general manager. Years of scouting enable Rizzo to make determinations about players that inform his moves. “I like to call it knowledge more so than gut,” Rizzo said. I recommend reading the entire piece for an up-close look at the person who leads Washington’s baseball operations department.
- Derek Lowe and Eduardo Nunez helped the Yankees win a crucial game against the Blue Jays yesterday, but it wasn't long ago that Lowe was unemployed and Nunez was a minor leaguer, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.
Rookie outfielder Mike Trout hit his 30th home run in the opener of the Angels-Rangers doubleheader this afternoon to become the youngest player in MLB history to slug 30 homers and steal 30 bases and the first rookie with a season of 30 homers and 40 steals. Trout is also the first player in MLB history to record 30 home runs, 45 steals, and 125 runs scored in a single season (h/t ESPN, via Twitter). Trout swiped his 48th base in that game and is now just two stolen bases away from joining Barry Bonds and Eric Davis as the only 30/50 players in baseball history. Today's historic performance further fuels the AL MVP debate between Trout and Miguel Cabrera, a debate chronicled by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Elsewhere on the Junior Circuit:
- White Sox manager Robin Ventura had to clarify comments he made about his future yesterday, reports CSNChicago.com's Dan Hayes. Ventura said he was only making a joke when he said he just wanted to get through this season. "I plan on being here for two more years, yes,” Ventura said. “Unless they don’t want me to be here.”
- If the White Sox opt for the $4MM buyout of Jake Peavy's contract rather than exercise the $22MM 2013 option, the right-hander may act as his own agent, reports Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times. Barry Axelrod, Peavy's longtime agent, is no longer able to represent him because Axelrod will be taking a position in the Diamondbacks' front office. For his part, Peavy says he wants to remain with the White Sox, "I love Chicago and this team. I hope we'll be able to work something out."
- The Twins will have to work something out with pitcher Scott Baker, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. The club has a $9.25MM team option for 2013 and it seems highly unlikely they'd exercise that and make Baker the team's highest-paid pitcher coming off surgery, writes 1500ESPN.com Phil Mackey. GM Terry Ryan wouldn't say much about Baker's status other than, "If you think he's going to be able to contribute in 2013, the answer is yes (we do have interest)."
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has a feeling some of his coaching staff won't be back after the team's second consecutive 90-loss season, according to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger and Jordan Garretson. "I have all the faith that they can do the job, but some of these things aren't going to be left up to me, it's going to be left to ownership and [general manager] Terry [Ryan]," Gardenhire said. "If he thinks change is needed, he's going to talk to the owners and we'll go from there."
- Within the same piece, Bollinger and Garretson confirmed Gardenhire hadn't spoken to Joe Mauer about moving to third base. Gardenhire said he has considered playing Mauer some at third when asked about the possibility during a conference call with season-ticket holders on Thursday.
- The Blue Jays' Darren Oliver is undecided if he will continue playing in 2013, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Oliver says the main deciding factor will be "my two kids and my wife." The Blue Jays hold a $3MM club option on the left-hander, who has posted a 1.78 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and 2.3 BB/9 in 60 relief appearances this year covering nearly 56 innings.
- The Rays ultimately may be known more for not providing enough support to take advantage of one of the best overall pitching performances in recent times; but, there has been a lot accomplished, writes Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin who recounts the good, bad and interesting.
- Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com has obtained an assessment of the Red Sox’s top 20 prospects by pro scouts for another big-league team. The young talent will be needed as Boston lost 90 games for the first time since 1966 after being swept by the Orioles today.
- The Yankees, Rangers and Orioles each clinched a playoff spot on Sunday evening thanks to a Mike Napoli-led Texas victory over the Angels. All three teams remain in the hunt for division titles, but three more regular season games must be played this week before final seeding can be determined. For the Orioles, the return to the playoffs comes after a lengthy absence as Baltimore's last postseason appearance came in 1997.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
Last night we learned that the Rays discussed a deal with the Angels to send right-hander James Shields to Anaheim for Peter Bourjos, Hank Conger, and possibly Ervin Santana. Here's more on the Rays and other items out of the AL East..
- The Rays are telling teams Rays that they're getting encouraging reports on Evan Longoria and if he's back sooner than originally thought, they'll be less likely to move Shields and others, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney told Mut & Merloni of WEEI Radio that he doesn't expect the Red Sox to make a move before the deadline, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Olney also said that rumors of Boston being interested in acquiring Hanley Ramirez were overstated, though reports suggested that their intent was to flip him to a third club.
- A league source told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com that the five most sought-after Red Sox are pitcher Matt Barnes, shortstop Jose Iglesias, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., infielder Xander Bogaerts, and catcher Ryan Lavarnway. However, Boston hasn't internally discussed making any of them available, making their chances of landing an elite starter slim.
- The Blue Jays hold a $3MM option on Darren Oliver for next season, but the soon-to-be 42-year-old hasn't thought about whether he wants to pitch in 2013, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
Some links as Monday turns into Tuesday...
- Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says (on Twitter) Tony La Russa is seriously weighing his career options and hopes to have an answer soon, perhaps before Spring Training. It's been speculated that La Russa could join a team in a front office role after retiring from managing.
- The Angels have talked to Francisco Cordero's representatives recently according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. He says it's hard to gauge where the team is in the race for the right-hander given all the money they've already spent this offseason, among other things.
- The Yankees maintain interest in re-signing reliever Luis Ayala according to MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith (on Twitter). Ayala posted a 2.09 ERA with a 50% ground ball rate in 56 IP for New York last season. Last month we learned that six teams were pursuing the righty.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that the Rangers didn't offer Darren Oliver anything close to the $4.5MM he got from the Blue Jays. He says they remain in the market for left-handed bullpen help, and Mike Gonzalez still fits.
- Omar Vizquel hinted at retirement on his Twitter account today, saying "[if] there is no contract [offer] there will be no other option but to start a new career, [as a] coach," according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (link in Spanish).
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that Casey Blake will have to come to the plate 550 times this season to max out the $1MM in incentives in his contract with the Rockies. He'll earn the first $350K in bonuses at 350 plate appearances.
- Within the same piece, Renck says that Aaron Cook's minor league deal with the Red Sox will pay him $20K per month in the minors. He can make an additional $2MM by making 30 starts in the big leagues, and the escalators kick in at 15 starts. Cook can request his release if he's not on the 25-man roster on May 1st and again on June 1st.
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, 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.
Some links as Thursday turns into Friday...
- As part of his comeback attempt, Manny Ramirez will work out for teams later this month according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Manny was officially reinstated last month, and he indicated that the "doors are open" for a minor league contract.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told MLB.com's Mark Bowman that he feels both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado will be with the team at the start of Spring Training. They still have interest in Adam Jones and could continue to pursue the outfielder if the Orioles lower their demands.
- The Yankees never inquired on lefty reliever Darren Oliver before he signed with the Blue Jays, reports MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith (on Twitter). New York has brought in southpaws Hideki Okajima and Mike O'Connor on minor league deals this offseason.
- Miguel Tejada is training in Miami as he looks to make a comeback, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The 37-year-old was designated for assignment by the Giants in August after hitting .239/.270/.326 in 343 plate appearances.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recapped the last three weeks of minor league transactions. We've covered all the significant moves here, but you can check out which low-level minor leaguers your favorite team recently released.
3:11pm: The two sides are still finalizing terms according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). He says it's unlikely anything will get done before next week given the holiday and the need for a physical.
1:07pm: The Blue Jays are close to signing Darren Oliver, reports Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. Both Oliver and the Rangers were interested in a reunion, but the team wouldn't make any commitments due to the potential outlay for other players, namely Yu Darvish.
Oliver, 41, is 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 would not forfeit a pick. The left-hander has 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 batting line during that time. The Angels also expressed some interest in his services.
This post was originally published on December 30th.
The LaTroy Hawkins signing got understandably overshadowed during the winter meetings, but the Angels are still exploring bullpen options according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Gonzalez says they've been in touch with Darren Oliver's representatives and had scouts watch Joel Zumaya's recent showcase.
The Halos have Jordan Walden, Scott Downs, Hisanori Takahashi, and Hawkins slated for the bullpen at the moment, plus they have Kevin Jepsen, Rich Thompson, Bobby Cassevah, and Jerome Williams on their 40-man roster as well. Gonzalez says the Angels can't afford Francisco Cordero, and he adds that GM Jerry Dipoto has not reached out to free agents Luis Ayala and Dan Wheeler either.
Add the Angels and Blue Jays to the list of American League teams interested in Darren Oliver. Those two clubs, plus the Red Sox and Rangers have shown interest in the veteran left-hander, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
Oliver, 41, posted a 2.29 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 51 innings for the Rangers in 2011. The Jeff Frye client is one of the top left-handed relievers available in free agency. It's worth noting that the Angels signed former Rangers left-hander C.J. Wilson earlier this offseason.
The Blue Jays' interest is no surprise. They dealt Marc Rzepczynski last summer and Evan Crawford and Luis Perez are the only left-handed relievers on their 40-man roster at the moment. I'd be surprised if the team hasn't shown interest in most of the competent, available left-handers this offseason and I expect them to acquire one by Opening Day.
Earlier this week it appeared as though Darren Oliver would be heading back to the Rangers next season, but that's not necessarily the case. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says that Oliver is keeping an open mind about his 2012 destination, and he's drawing interest from the Red Sox and other clubs (Twitter links).
Oliver, 41, pitched to a 2.29 ERA in 51 innings this past season, striking out 44 and walking just 11. During his two most recent years in Texas, he's held left-handed batters to a .212/.250/.306 batting line with 66 strikeouts and just seven walks in 207 plate appearances. Oliver is one of the few remaining left-handed relievers on the free agent market.