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Blue Jays exercise option on lefty reliever Darren Oliver and re-sign outfielder Rajai Davis

Oct 31, 2012, 6:27 PM EDT

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Veteran left-handed reliever Darren Oliver was said to be considering retirement earlier this month.

But that apparently won’t be happening.

According to beat writer Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, the Blue Jays exercised Oliver’s $3 million club option on Wednesday. They also re-signed outfielder Rajai Davis to a one-year, $2.5 million deal after declining his $3 million option.

Oliver posted an impressive 2.06 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 52/15 K/BB ratio in 56 2/3 innings this summer for Toronto.

The 42-year-old will serve as a middle reliever again next season.

Davis, 32, batted .257/.309/.378 this year with 64 runs and 46 steals in 142 games played.

  1. proudlycanadian - Oct 31, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    There has to be more to the Davis contract, as if his option had been not picked up, it would have cost the Jays $500,000. It would have cost them a net $2.5 million if they had exercised his option. I have to assume that the new contract includes an option for another year.

    • pn8100 - Oct 31, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      Might just be the tax implications.

      Bonuses are taxed differently than income, (possibly for the employer as well.) It also moves more of the salary into this year and gives Rajai I some instant pocket money and a higher net pay.

  2. jaysjunkie - Oct 31, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    It’ll be nice to see Oliver back. He was one of the few Jays who had a great season.

    I can never figure out most of this contract-related stuff…all I know is I hope the team sticks with Davis in LF, barring a trade. I’ve been a little puzzled that so many people say he’s still nothing more than a 4th outfielder. Yes, there’s still some holes in his hitting and occasionally his defence, but with that speed, I say they stick with him.

    • paint771 - Nov 1, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      I agree. I don’t know why people have always poo-pooed Davis. In the last four years he’s a .292 hitter who steals an average of 43 bases a year, with defense that’s nothing to write home about but is league average with occasional splashes and can play any outfield position.

      It’s true his on base percentage has never been great – I don’t think he works well as a leadoff guy – but then again I’d say his damage when he does get on base is much, much higher than league average – more so than just a prototypical base stealer even. As anybody that watches a lot of Toronto games can tell you, Davis on first base completely changes the complexion of an inning. He’s a guy not afraid to go first to third on stolen bases in an at-bat, will score on anything, and who seems to relish getting in pitcher’s heads and scrambling their brains. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and while it’s a little too much in front of Bautista or even guys that need to concentrate like Escobar or Lawrie, down in the order in front of guys like Arencibia or Johnson or Rasmus (who will run into one if the pitcher makes a mistake)? I’ll take that every time. It turns a soft bottom of the order into a real danger zone, if it breaks right.

      In any case, I’m with you. The Jays do need a long term solution in left field, but Davis is solid enough they can also wait until the right one comes along and don’t need to just be swapping in league average veterans or too green prospects. Davis might not be a long term solution, but he’s also hardly a gaping hole in a lineup or defense that you have to scramble to address. He’s done alright by the Jays.

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