Darren Oliver Rumors
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.
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.
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 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.