Wednesday, January 16, 2013
By Jason A. Churchill
Darren Oliver, the Toronto Blue Jays announced Wednesday, will return for his 98th season in the big leagues. OK, it only seems like that, but the 42-year-old has pushed off retirement and will pitch for the Jays for the $3 million guaranteed for 2013, despite his desire to be traded back to the Texas Rangers and/or to be given a raise.
Oliver has had a terrific career and if there were a reliever's hall of fame, he'd certainly be inducted.
In 2012 the southpaw posted a 2.06 ERA and a 52-13 K/BB ratio in 62 appearances, and held lefty bats to a .234 average. But like many of Oliver's seasons, he was even nastier versus right-handed hitters, limiting them to a .196 average and just five extra-base hits last season.
Oliver figures to remain in a similar role for 2013, though the Blue Jays are primed and ready to contend after the additions of Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Melky Cabrera and R.A. Dickey, among others.
If Toronto surprisingly struggles and is not in contention, Oliver is likely to be shopped at the trade deadline, where needy clubs will line up to acquire him, including the Rangers.