BY CLAYTON RICHER – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
Should the Toronto Blue Jays extend an olive branch to veteran lefty Darren Oliver? The 42-year-old relief specialist has been on the cusp of retirement since the conclusion of the Blue Jays disappointing season. Toronto holds a $3 million option for his services of Oliver this season but he will only return to the Jays if they sweeten the pot with a considerable raise over. Oliver has also reiterated that he would be open to a trade to return to his home state of Texas.
So where does this leave Alex Anthopoulos and company who could still benefit with Oliver in the bullpen? The Jays have three options to consider:
1. Negotiate a new contract with Oliver for the 2013 season to lure him back north of the border.
2. Trade him to Texas though it would appear Anthopoulos has lost all leverage in obtaining something of quality.
3. Do nothing and force Oliver to retire as the Jays hold his contractual option for 2013.
Oliver has 19 major league seasons under his belt with arguably his best last season where he posted a 2.06 ERA with a 1.024 WHIP. Oliver has posted a career WAR of 18.6, and his WAR value of 1.9 last season was his highest since converting to a reliever.
If I was a betting man, I would say the tight lipped Anthopoulos will deal Oliver to Texas for a fringe major leaguer. Perhaps backup catcher Eli Whiteside whom the Jays lost on waivers earlier this offseason? The Jays could then use that money earmarked for Oliver to sign another reliever to fill the void.
The Blue Jays don’t appear to be in a position to take on any further salary after increasing their payroll to nearly $120 million this offseason.
The Jays masterminds can’t be pleased with Oliver attempting to strong arm them into more money or a trade to Texas. The 42-year-old would definitely help the Jays bullpen moving forward but it appears he will remain in the lone star state one way or another.
The Jays won’t be extending the olive branch 2,535 kilometres to Oliver.
Clayton Richer is a baseball writer for Baseball Hot Corner, his interviews and blogs can be found daily at www.baseballhotcorner.com as well you can also follow him on twitter MLBHotCorner
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