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Darren Oliver wants a raise to return to Blue Jays for another season

Jan 3, 2013, 8:01 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Getty Images

The Blue Jays exercised their $3 million club option on Darren Oliver earlier this winter in hopes of convincing him to come back for another season, but there’s still no resolution with the 42-year-old left-hander.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal¬†reports that while Oliver wants to play, he’s not willing to return unless the Blue Jays increase his salary for 2013. His reasoning is that he would rather retire than be away from his family at a salary below the market value.

According to Rosenthal, Oliver figured that he would likely hang it up after 2012 when he signed with the Blue Jays last offseason, but he’s coming off a 2.06 ERA in 56 2/3 innings and a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the past five seasons. In a world where fellow left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt got a three-year, $18 million contract from the Giants, he’s trying to leverage his situation into a better deal. The Blue Jays aren’t blinking yet, as Rosenthal was told by a source that they might need to make some moves just to accommodate his $3 million salary for 2013.

One long-rumored compromise is a trade back to his hometown Rangers, where he pitched from 1993-1998, 2000-2001 and 2010-2011. Rosenthal writes that the veteran southpaw “would welcome” that outcome and would likely be more flexible with his financial requirements if he could be closer to home. There’s no indication that a deal is close, though.

  1. lazlosother - Jan 3, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    More power to him. I’d love to be in position to walk away from 3 million because it isn’t worth the inconvenience.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Oliver’s options are very limited. He can either retire or he can play for the Jays.

    The Jays have no reason to pay him more than the amount stipulated in his contract. He did sign a contract with them for 2012 with a team option for 2013 which the Jays exercised. He was great last season, but how long he can keep it up is unknown.

    I just can’t see the Jays trading/giving him to a team that they might face in the playoffs, and I can’t see the Rangers offering anyone useful for one year’s work by a 42 year old pitcher. However, if Oliver could be packaged with another player such as Rasmus in a trade for Kinsler, I am sure that the owner of the Jays would increase the team’s budget to accommodate the trade.

    • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:08 PM

      That’s a hell of a deal. Rasmus and Oliver for Kinsler? Hell yes.

    • biasedhomer - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      That trade doesn’t seem bad. Rangers can start Profar, and they get a young OFer to replace Hamilton.

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:19 PM

        The Jays might want to throw in Lind to balance off the payroll.

      • quintjs - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:29 PM

        because payroll is the problem with that trade idea?

    • paperlions - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      Oliver doesn’t need any more options. Retiring is a real option for him, and, apparently, preferred to spending another season away from his family. The Jays options with respect to Oliver are just as limited….as the Rangers may be the only team that would trade for him given the outlined parameters.

      The idea that a player like Kinsler may be obtained for a 42 yr old LH RP and a 26 year old CF that can’t get on base and has an indifferent attitude toward the game is freaking hilarious (not quite as funny as Arencibia being a viable center piece in a deal for Dickey, but pretty close).

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        As I wrote, the Jays are not going to give Oliver to the Rangers for nothing and the Rangers will not offer very much for him. The only way that he would end up with Texas is as a piece of a larger trade. The only player on the Rangers who would be a fit for the Jays is Kinsler. There are already stories out there, that the Rangers plan to do a Michael Young on Kinsler and ask him to move to first base. Theoretically, the Jays would probably be happy to offer Rasmus, Lind and Oliver for Kinsler. If the Rangers were interested in moving Kinsler, they would obviously ask for pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez as part of any trade.

  3. jaysfan64 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    I understand the family thing and the market value thing…but dammit, nobody held a gun to his head when he signed that contract…he signed knowing full well what he’d get paid…the Jays don’t need him that badly..if I were AA I’d be tempted to just let him retire but he’ll probably trade him to Texas for someone who truly wants to be here (Frasor maybe?)….sigh…McGwire put it best a long time ago when he said, “You signed that contract, now honor it”….I know in pro sports to athletes big bucks is a sign of big respect from their team but these guys have to remember who makes these big bucks possible for them and show us some respect…and another thing – it’s hard for me as a Torontonian not to take this as another slap in the face from a pro athlete…that’s what makes guys like Bautista, Romero, and Arencibia so refreshing – they actually want to be here and aren’t afraid to tell the world about it…
    Rant over….

    • Reflex - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:14 PM

      Um, nobody forced AA to sign the deal either. He put himself in this position as well, who can blame Oliver in this situation.

      • dmcmillan2286 - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        Um, I don’t understand your comment. AA isn’t the one breaking his word and going back on the contract he signed. AA is merely expecting Oliver to honor [maybe the wrong word] the contract he signed not so long ago.

        I think it’s despicable when a player tries to renegotiate the contract they signed. If he wants to play close to home then he should play for $1M for Texas and then Texas might offer Toronto some fair value for him. AA was wily enough to put the option year in the contract and now Oliver’s lack of morals will cost the team resources the Jays deserved.

        Hopefully the Jays won’t need relievers as much this year with the vastly improved rotation.

      • Reflex - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:18 AM

        He isn’t going back on his word. He has a *right* to retire. Every player does. That is a right that they negotiated as part of the CBA who knows how many years ago. He won’t get paid if he does retire, but then he doesn’t seem to think he needs the money.

        If AA wants to talk him out of retiring, his option is to offer him enough money extra to make him want to stay an active player. That is AA’s option, or perhaps to simply trade him to someone who can accommodate him.

        Nobody is doing anything wrong here. This is the position they find themselves in. With more money on the table as part of his current deal, its possible Oliver decides one more year is worth it to him. Or he just decides that three mil isn’t enough and walks because he likes to be with his family. The penalty he pays is that the Jays will control his rights next year, whether he plays or not, so if he retires he doesn’t get paid and cannot play for anyone else.

        Again, this is the rules as negotiated by the union and the owners. Nobody is breaking their word or going back on the contract they signed. Just using the tools available to them to get what they want.

      • dmcmillan2286 - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        It sounds like Oliver is saying “I want to be with my family since that’s what’s really important to me… well unless you pay me a bit more. Then I could be fine with playing in Toronto”.

        It is his right to retire but I feel it is underhanded to try to extract more money than what he agreed to originally and signed his name to [especially by playing the “it’s about my family” card]. That’s what I find so offensive about his gambit.

  4. jaysfan64 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Proudly – lol! Guaranteed they would in a heartbeat! I think if AA can get something useful for him he will…otherwise you’re right – he’ll just let him rot…cause the Jays actually hold all the cards…

  5. jaysfan64 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    From the Jays’ perspective? Hell no!! I can see Daniels laughing hysterically on the other end of the phone, tho…

  6. historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:37 PM


    • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      Try beano

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        wouldn’t that be more like:


  7. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Oliver wants a raise from the jays? Yea ok and i want it to be christmas 15 days a year, keep dreaming Darren…

  8. jaysfan64 - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    The Jays weren’t counting on him coming back anyways (they’d already said as much) but the players were hoping he would…either way I don’t see him with the club in 2013 cause I can’t see Beeston and AA being held hostage by him (that’s not their style)..if they want to renegotiate they’ll do it on their terms not his…

  9. tc4306 - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    If he’s not in spring training on schedule he goes on the suspended list. No play; no pay. End of story.

  10. tuberippin - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    I would also like more money to keep doing my job.

  11. westcoastjay - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    Pass me the barf pail… Lost all respect for this guy. “i’ll suck it up in Toronto IF they pay me more”. Throw that entire family card BS out the window…. Enjoy your retirement Darren

  12. louhudson23 - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:29 AM

    While I am not surprised,I am amused at the responses to Oliver’s actions.And as usual,much of the bile is based on a false equivalency or just plain factually wrong.
    To wit; Oliver has a contract agreed to mutually. As a standard part of that contract,he has the option to retire and receive no pay as due under that contract. The Jays will continue to hold the rights to his contract for it’s duration. Oliver has stated since the end of last season that he is strongly leaning towards retiring. Blue Jays have sought to have him continue to play,although they could be free of his contract upon his retirement. Oliver has stated that he would consider continuing only upon receiving more pay from the Jays or possibly as a member of another team.Financial considerations being secondary to location in this possible trade scenario,removing money as necessarily Oliver’s primary motivation.
    So,it remains Oliver has the option to retire.Jays have the option of watching him do so or continue to attempt to persuade him reconsider his choice,or trade his rights to someone else and have them deal with the issue.I find it hard to find a villain here.We are not talking about a 29 year old star with a career in front of him attempting a holdout for max money. This is a true elder statesmen retaining his market value despite his desire to begin his inevitable retirement and get on with the rest of his life.

  13. oprk - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:41 AM

    All he has to do is get his ERA up to 4.50 this year and he’ll be making above market value. Easy fix.

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