Darren Oliver Rumors
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.
Earlier tonight, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan wrote that the Rangers were in search of left-handed relief, and general manager Jon Daniels' preference was to fill that role with Oliver. The 40-year-old Oliver has spent the last two seasons with Texas, posting a combined 2.40 ERA in 112 2/3 innings with a strong 8.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Frank Francisco (B), Kelly Johnson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), Jose Molina (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). They declined to offer Shawn Camp (B) arbitration.
- The Red Sox announced that they offered David Ortiz (A) and Dan Wheeler (B) arbitration. They declined to offer Jason Varitek (B) arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon (A) already signed with the Phillies.
- The Yankees offered Freddy Garcia (B) arbitration according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- The Royals offered Bruce Chen (B) arbitration, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- The White Sox announced they've offered arbitration to Mark Buehrle (B) and not Juan Pierre (B).
- The Athletics announced David DeJesus (B) and Josh Willingham (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) were offered arbitration.
- The Rangers announced C.J. Wilson (A) will be offered arbitration. Modified Type B free agent Darren Oliver does not require an offer.
- The Orioles announced they will not offer arbitration to Vladimir Guerrero (B).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said today on a conference call that he will offer arbitration to Michael Cuddyer (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Jason Kubel (B), and noted that no arbitration offer is necessary for modified Type B free agent Matt Capps.
Teams with decisions still due:
Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Octavio Dotel, Ramon Hernandez and Darren Oliver were all Type A free agents under the Elias Rankings system, but they will now be treated as Type B free agents, the MLBPA announced. Teams won't have to surrender draft picks to sign them, but the players' former teams obtain a supplementary first round pick whether or not they offer arbitration tomorrow.
Meanwhile, clubs won't have to surrender a draft pick to sign one of the following six players: Heath Bell, Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Madson, Josh Willingham and Francisco Rodriguez. Teams that lose these players after offering arbitration will obtain first round picks in the slot before the signing team plus a supplementary draft pick for a total of two selections.
Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Roy Oswalt, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins were also Type A free agents this offseason. They will cost one draft pick to sign. Their teams will obtain two total picks if they decline offers of arbitration to sign elsewhere, as expected. Takashi Saito and Carlos Beltran, two other Type As, cannot be offered arbitration. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the changes.
- A's people mention the Dan Haren deal as a point of reference for Gio Gonzalez trade talks, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The A's obtained Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson for Haren, so it's clear they'll be looking for top prospects in any deal involving the 26-year-old Gonzalez. Andrew Bailey is "more available" than Gonzalez, according to Slusser, but the A's aren't in a rush to make a move despite interest in both pitchers.
- Slusser suggests the A's could also trade Grant Balfour or Brian Fuentes.
- Kurt Suzuki's trade value isn't particularly high, so the backstop may stay put in Oakland, Slusser writes.
- Free agent left-hander Darren Oliver told Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that re-signing with the Rangers would be his “first choice, no doubt.” The Rangers will be looking to add lefty relievers this offseason.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest that he's realistic about re-signing C.J. Wilson, though he hasn't ruled the possibility out (Twitter link).
- Click here to read about Joe Nathan’s deal with the Rangers and here for the latest on the Angels.
The Rangers are looking to bolster their pitching this offseason, assistant GM Thad Levine said today in Milwaukee. Here are more details from MLBTR’s conversation with Levine, who represented the Rangers in place of GM Jon Daniels:
- Though the Rangers aren’t married to the idea of acquiring left-handed relievers, they’d like to add bullpen depth in some form. Southpaws Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez are on the free agent market and the Rangers would welcome either one back under the right circumstances.
- Ideally, they’ll add relievers who can retire hitters on both sides of the plate, rather than highly specialized players.
- The Rangers developed Neftali Feliz as a starting pitcher and they’re “very open" to moving him to the rotation, Levine said. The Rangers are confident in their ability to shift certain relievers to the rotation after converting C.J. Wilson in 2010 and Alexi Ogando in 2011.
- “In the event that the starting pitching market doesn’t play out like we hope, [converting Feliz to the rotation] is certainly an alternative and if we go that route, we’d probably want to try to address the bullpen,” Levine said. The Rangers intend to convert Feliz to the rotation, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols lurk as alternatives for large-market teams without fully established first basemen, but the Rangers aren’t at all concerned with Mitch Moreland, according to Levine. “We consider the setback much more injury-related than performance-related,” Levine said, noting that Moreland played through wrist tendinitis in 2011.
Steve Carlton of the Phillies won his third career Cy Young Award on this day in 1980. The left-hander would go on to win a fourth Cy Young in 1982 en route to 329 career wins and a place in Cooperstown. Here are some links for Friday afternoon...
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggests the Red Sox should pursue Jose Reyes and trade Jose Iglesias. However, the Red Sox expect Iglesias to be ready for the Major Leagues within a half-year or so. Cafardo expects the Red Sox to pursue Carlos Beltran this offseason.
- The Tigers are looking for a leadoff hitter, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). Reyes is a dream candidate and David DeJesus and Kelly Johnson could be more affordable alternatives.
- Agent Matt Sosnick told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that free agent Ryan Doumit is willing to catch, play right field or DH in 2012 (Twitter link).
- The Blue Jays announced that they hired former Devil Rays GM Chuck LaMar as a special assistant to amateur scouting.
- Darren Oliver’s wife has given her husband the go-ahead to sign with whichever team has the best shot at a World Series title, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick.
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.