Please sir, I want some more…

First off, let’s have a huge crotch grab in the direction of @KingShimpy, who gets full credit for the “Darren Oliver Twist” name– at least as far as I saw– and the subsequent half-assed Photoshop.

Now, a minor mea culpa: while patrolling the comments on the post below I realized quite quickly that, assuming this afternoon’s report from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports is accurate, Darren Oliver’s position on the matter of his 2013 salary needs a lot more defending than my initial reaction provided.

That isn’t to say that I no longer find his decision a bit disappointing or off-putting– they call it “honouring” a contract for a reason– but I immediately regretted whatever small role my write-up may have had in the movement of some of the comment discussion toward the painfully simplistic stuff about greedy athlete shitheads not being happy with getting paid some exorbitant amount to have a career we’d all murder for. Or at least assault for. Or… send a terse email for? I don’t know.

Point is, let’s hold the fucking phone with this “how dare he?” nonsense and listen to the wisdom of a couple of commenters. (No, really).

Jays2010 hits the nail on the head:

There was nothing in Oliver’s contract saying he couldn’t retire if he didn’t feel his 2013 salary was to his liking.

If he is only willing to play for $4 million in 2013, more power to him.

Owners/GMs have 6 years of control to maximize their leverage.

Most players are never in a position to do what Oliver is doing. He is well within his rights to maximize his leverage. GMs are applauded for doing the exact same thing.

And Brumfield Wants Noise might even do him one better:

Think of Oliver as a retired player. The price to coax him out of retirement is $3 million for the team closest to his family (the Rangers) and $4.5 million for anybody else. How is that not reasonable? The guy is valuing spending time with his family and being a father that’s present year-round for the first time in his kids’ lives. He’s not fucking holding out.

You certainly don’t have to agree with those interpretations, or like what Oliver is doing or how it’s suddenly playing out in the media, but there’s plenty of merit to what these guys are saying. More importantly, I think if you’re going to discuss what the hell this is all about and whether the principle of it is right or not, here’s where you probably ought to be starting, and not the hopelessly flawed notion that Oliver shouldn’t dare make Alex Anthopoulos bend his principles, shuffle money around, or ask Rogers for a less-than-one-percent budget increase in an attempt to help coax a terrific reliever and the extremely valuable marginal wins he’d bring the club out of retirement.

Like I said in the first post, I think the Jays should play hardball and dare him to turn down the $3-million we already know they’d gladly pay, but that doesn’t mean we need to overstate the harm in Oliver asking for more.

So what? Call his bluff if you don’t like it. Let him retire like you already thought he was going to, if you don’t like it.

I mean… the strangest thing to me is how all the way up until earlier today people had been pining, hoping for this guy to choose to come back and would have lost their shit if he did. Now here we are, with a real chance for the club to negotiate a little and it’s all “oh, fuck him.”

True, I don’t think his would have been my choice, personally, but it’s hardly as slimy and indefensible as the people going to great lengths to insist money should be kept in Rogers’ pockets are making it out to be.

Comments (166)

  1. pay the money. its worth it. period.

  2. What is to stop Evan Longoria or Jose Bautista from “RETIRING” if they don’t like their contracts? Only to sign another deal? It’s a breach unless Oliver is traded… Which he’s demanding. AA could force him to retire, but my view is: why bother?

    • Uh… the fact that you can’t sign another deal, can’t play for anybody for the length of your deal while retired, and you also don’t get paid?

      • Probably a response to: “Think of Oliver as a retired player. The price to coax him out of retirement is $3 million for the team closest to his family (the Rangers) and $4.5 million for anybody else. How is that not reasonable?”

      • In other words: Oliver is breaching or negotiating in bad faith? Yes. Kind of my point.

        And the corollary: he’s old and he’s a reliever, so who fucking cares? If I were AA I’d strap on my big boy pants and tell him to eat shit…unless there is a Mike Aviles (read: something you can immediately flip for a young ah power arm) available in exchange.

        • Pretty sure you are missing the point.

        • He’s a pretty good pitcher. And speaking of good faith, wouldn’t you want amazing players to come to your team and try to increase their value….and succeed?

          To me the only problem is that the Jays didn’t trade him last season. They should have to pay as penalty for stupidity.

          • @ Soupman, Oliver can say whatever he wants, he is in breach of nothing right now. He may have no intent to retire, and his talk of retirement is simple a tactic for more dough. Stay tuned, and please don’t jump!

    • i’m fairly certain there are clauses in the bargaining agreements that prevent this.

    • OMG it’s Damien Coxs! :O

  3. I just find plenty of irony in the fact that a guy who is all about his family is teaching his children this kind of lesson. Sure, the extra $1.5M is a lot of money. But when you sign a contract, you stick to it. What happens when he gets the $$, decides he wants to be at home anyway, and has a little “ouchie” in mid-April that sidelines him in Texas for the season. Once you show a lack of general ethics, in my mind, it’s a safer bet to cut him loose and use the money elsewhere. Just my two cents.

    • I think that’s kind of a ridiculous slippery slope argument, no? He could have done that on day one with the Jays, if his intention all along was to retire, or to spend a year at home and see if he could get more money.

      • Of course he could have…but he’d have been giving up $3M by not pitching well enough to have the option exercised. If this report is true, then we’ve learned a) that he’s all about the Benjamins and b) if he can’t get more money, he’s retiring. Well, as soon as the first pitch of the season is thrown, he can’t get more money. I’m not saying it isn’t far fetched, I’m just saying it’s possible.

        AA seems to be all about character guys. This guy doesn’t strike me as a character guy. We can do better.

        • What the fuck are you talking about?

          Is AA not a “character” GM because he isn’t tearing up Bautista’s contract and giving him the 6 years and $150 million that is “fair”?

          Oliver is teaching his children a bad lesson. The fuck?

          I know fans like to pretend it’s 1960 where players don’t have any rights. But, you know, players aren’t indentured servants anymore.

          Darren Oliver retiring doesn’t “dishonour” the contract.

          • He also isn’t tearing up Adam Lind’s contract and paying him the $10.75 an hour that is “fair”. Fair is taking a position, negotiating it as well as you can, reaching a resolution that is within the acceptable limits of both parties in the negotiation, and sticking to the terms of the agreement regardless of the events that transpire in the months and years following the execution of said contract.

            Also (and I hate the “these guys make so much money to play a game” argument), I struggle a little bit with “players aren’t indentured servants anymore”. Sure he has rights. He can play. Or he can retire. It strikes me that he has chosen a third path which seems dishonourable.

          • @Andy

            All of the following options may be palatable to Oliver:

            A) Retire
            B) Play in Texas for $3 million
            C) Play in Toronto for $4 million

            What exactly is wrong with Oliver asking for an extra $1 million to pitch in Toronto, far away from his family?

            Of course, he has to be willing to follow through with the threat.

            And I certainly don’t agree that option C teaches a poor lesson to his children or whatever the fuck you were suggesting.

          • +1 to Jays2010. People are missing the point that retirement is completely palatable to Oliver and, in fact, is quite possibly his preferred option. This is a totally different set of circumstances from virtually any other player in the league.

          • @Andy

            I guess it could be argued either way, but I don’t consider Oliver asking for an extra $1 – $2 million as dishonouring his contract.

            Unless AA included a “you can’t fucking retire” clause of which we are unaware.

        • Maybe the lesson he’s teaching his kids is “family is important.” i.e. You better have 1.5 million damn good reasons for not seeing your kids grow up for one more summer when you’ve already missed out on a good portion of 8-9 months at a time every year.

          I guess I’m just having trouble accepting Rosenthal and Morosi’s characterization that the extra money he’s asking for is compensation to bring him to FMV for his services instead of a payment necessary to induce him to forego a year of retirement. The fact of the matter is that Oliver’s only alternative that’s in his hands is retirement. So to me it makes more sense that it’s the latter not the former that’s driving Oliver’s motivation.

          • This is an intriguing point and I can at least get my head around it, even if I don’t love it.

            I’m a bit more uncomfortable with the “we ain’t no slaves and we gonna get ours and my boiii is gonna get his and rogers is a bunch of cheap bastards” argument.

          • @Jays2010

            OK, I respect your opinion and I disagree with it. Like I said above, I’m coming around to the argument that he’s retired and that’s what it’s gonna cost to coax him out of retirement.

            But it doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy that I want to be cheering for. This can’t be a crime, can it? I’m a season ticket holder, and pump $8500 into the team every year. I cheer for the team unconditionally, but I’m not always on board with each individual player.

            I wasn’t offended by Yunel’s eye black
            I thought Vizquel was a POS
            I felt Burnett was unfairly treated

            I can go on. I’m sure you agree with some of my opinions and disagree with others. But yeah, my opinion remains that you honour a contract.

        • first of all you are a complete idiot if you think DO is playing for the money, have you checked his profile? Get a life and stop being so jelous of others good fortunes, just because he plays a game for a living that you cant help but watch and wish was you on the field.

    • lol hey look more stupid Toronto fans. smh.

      we definitely have the stupidest fan base and media in sports

      • You have impressed us all with the coherence and cohesiveness of your argument. Having a different opinion than you doesn’t make one stupid. I am simply a believer (albeit at times to a fault) that one should honour their commitments, even if it means at a personal loss (in this case, probably around 1/3 of his value). If you have a different value system, that doesn’t make you wrong or stupid. I’d argue that the only thing that makes you stupid is your ability to formulate an argument.

        • And if the Jays/Rogers were in a position to save a cool million by cutting bait on a player instead of ‘honouring a commitment’ you think they would pass up the opportunity?

          (hint: Frank Thomas and the AB threshold)

          Oliver is working the system to get the best possible outcome for himself, I find it impossible to get upset at him.

          • I said pay him. its worth every penny.

          • I didn’t like the way the Frank Thomas thing went down at all. In fact, I didn’t like much about the Jays at the time (unlike the last few years, where I’ve been much more excited).

            I am pretty strongly in the “Darren Oliver is a prick” camp (assuming reports are correct of course) and some of the arguments are shifting me more towards the middle. But I still can’t get the taste out of my mouth that he agreed to some terms and he’s not sticking to them and that upsets me a lot more than a guy like Vernon Wells just sucking and being worth way less than his agreement.

  4. Crotch grabs all around. My kinda Thursday night.

  5. I can’t think of Oliver as a retired player… because he’s not one. If he files his papers and starts collecting his pension then you can look at it that way until that point he’s just a guy holding out and not honoring his contract.

    • Yeah, but you have to try pretty hard to look at it that way, don’t you? You really have to want to feel the hate for him, amiright?

      • I can agree with @Jam ‘s sentiment here. Oliver is not actually threatening retirement from baseball, and is a willing and able agent for the 2013 season. Since he is willing to play for Texas next year (and Texas’ contract negotiations for 2013 with Oliver are not the Jays concern if he were to be traded there), this reads to me more as “Oliver is willing and able to play in 2013, but not with the team he signed a contract with.”

        Still comes off as a money grabbing move more than anything.

    • I agree with Jam

      I get both sides but at the end of the day if Im AA I dont bend a fucking inch on this.

      Perhaps an incentive on the jays post season success could be met as a compromise somewhere in the middle but thats as far as I go.

      Other than that play for what you John Hancocked for (3m) or retire.

  6. I didn’t have the best reaction at first either. Lets bring back Oliver and watch Yankees and Massholes choke on his Black Magic all damn season long.

  7. Oliver and his agent are simply leveraging his bargaining position for maximum utility, and in his position I would do the exact same thing. Those crying foul are basically whiners and likely hypocrites.

    • I’ve posted this a million times but the agent isn’t likely to be behind this. If Agent X has a history of getting his older players to hold out on their final option years using retirement as a leverage, would you be incluned to sign Agent X’s older players to multiyear deals in the future?

      • *as leverage

      • *inclined

      • If you want the player, I think you deal with the agent even if he has a history of guys threatening to retire.

        I mean, GMs probably don’t like Scott Boras’ tactics. But they deal with him because his clients can help their baseball teams, which may help the GM keep his job a little longer.

        • Yeah but as far as I know Scott Boras is aggressive but I don’t think he negotiates in bad faith, there is a big difference

      • He made $4m last year and signed with a $3m option with the idea he’d retire after last season…except he had a great year statistically. He’ll play in Dallas for less, b/c it’s close to home. How about matching last year’s salary and see if that works?

        Oh, and his agent Jeff Frye (the former 2b’man?) has been speaking on his behalf about being “undecided”. His agent absolutely knows what’s going on.

      • This is a pretty atypical situation though is it not? I would doubt Oliver’s agent has had this convergence of factors with any other client in his career tbh.

        1) A player near retirement still within the top ~10% at his position.
        2) This player is almost certainly being paid less than the value will provide to the team.
        3) The team obviously has entered into win-now mode, making his client (dependable high leverage relief pitcher) of even greater utility to the club (marginal value of wins)
        4) The player’s hometown team is also a strong contender
        5) There are no better alternatives out there and the bullpen wasn’t amazing last year.

        With such a fantastic bargaining position, any agent would/should be seeing the potential to extract some more money.

    • Everyone is a hypocrite. It has nothing to do with whether they’re right or wrong.

      Fact of the matter is there are people who wouldn’t have done something like this. They would have honoured their commitments. An undeniably more gracious and respectable course of action. So there is room for criticism and annoyance.

      Now, you can’t kill Oliver for this either. It is understandable. But let’s not act like everything is all fine and dandy.

      • My reply to Andy slightly upthread addresses this point.

        “And if the Jays/Rogers were in a position to save a cool million by cutting bait on a player instead of ‘honouring a commitment’ you think they would pass up the opportunity?

        (hint: Frank Thomas and the AB threshold)”

        I would argue this is more a matter of economics than morality. In a sense I don’t have a problem with Oliver ‘extorting’ money from the Jays/Rogers because I have no doubt that the reverse would occur should the opportunity present itself.

        I do agree this move isn’t the nice or honorable thing to do, however I see it as more pragmatic than dishonorable or underhanded.

    • I’ll remember not to hire you then.

  8. More? You want more?

    NO ONE HAS EVER ASKED FOR MORE.

  9. i vote “fuck him”

  10. What happens if the Jays let Oliver supposedly retire, sign someone else to replace him, then Oliver says “just bluffing, I’ll pitch this year”? Isn’t he kind of holding the team hostage right now by not committing or allowing the team to use the money budgeted to him to sign someone else?

  11. I vote “pay him”.

  12. Fuck him.

    Darren Oliver’s time for leverage was last year before he signed his contract. If he wants to play, he’s got a contract.

    Talking about players are hard done by in thos six years before free agency is nonsense. Oliver is 42 years old, he’s had more than enough time to make up for it.

    Let him retire or trade him, but renegotiating a reasonable contract that’s only a year old would set a bad precedent.

  13. I don’t really care either way, but I’d like to see him play for whats already been agreed upon. They couldn’t pay him less than that if he was shitty last year, so why should he get more because he was good? I don’t like the idea of shelling out more money to a guy who is ready to shut it down unless he gets a raise. But its not my money, and he was sooooo damn good out of the pen. Its a conundrum! I think you roll the dice with the deal in place already, forking out extra money to a player 40+ just seems off. Then again, its never been so important for the team to have talent and get every win possible. There ya go, a whole paragraph of thoughts without any actual stance or solution, ahhhh the digital age haha

    • They couldn’t pay him less than that if he was shitty last year, so why should he get more because he was good?

      - my thoughts exactly

      If he wants to retire, that’s perfectly fine.
      If he wants to play, he’ll get 3 mil.
      If he wants to go to Texas, he shouldn’t have signed a 2 year contract. I wouldn’t want to boost our potential WC or playoff opposition.

      • If he was shitty last year they would not exercise his option and then could absolutely sign him for less or not at all.

  14. I disagree on one thing: AA has shown himself to be a very fair and honorable guy. He almost didn’t do the Matthis trade because he had just signed him. He gave McGowan some extra loving. Stuff like that. He wouldn’t dare pull some negotiating tactic like this and ruin all the good PR Toronto finally might have with players.

    Oliver may be within his rights but he is still not showing any honor.

  15. Honour the contract that you signed. Look at this from the other side for a second, if a player doesn’t perform well can the team decide that they should be paid less… or force retirement. Of course the answer is no, if the player is released due to extreme suckage he still gets paid. Otherwise guys like lind would be sent packing. Contracts work both ways.

  16. It isn’t a perfect analogy because John Farrell certainly did “dishonour” his contract with the Jays by asking out on two different occasions, but I don’t particularly begrudge Farrell either.

    Boston is Farrell’s dream job and likely the only team willing to give him a contract extension.

    Who wouldn’t take more money to work at their dream job?

    Mind you, I think Farrell quite likely has fucked himself from a 3rd manager gig should he get the axe in Boston. But he decided to put all his chips on his dream job.

    Fans get pissed because it’s pretty much unprecedented. And a certain segment of Jays fans get extra pissed because it’s the big bad Red Sox and perceive it as a slight against the city/country.

    But Farrell and Oliver are employees just like the rest of us. They have the right to better their career and/or family life just like anyone else.

    • I should add two things to the above:

      1) We have no idea what kind of conversations occurred between AA & JF during his initial interviews. JF may very well have explained his affinity for Boston and that he may have an interest in pursuing the job if it is ever available.

      2) When JF was hired, the Blue Jays had a policy of allowing employees to opt out of contracts if they wanted to pursue an opportunity elsewhere. This policy was amended one year later during round 1 of the Farrell speculation. But, really, Farrell’s contract should be grandfathered in as he agreed to manage the Blue Jays under the pretense that he could opt out whenever he wanted.

      It’s a lot easier to convince Blue Jays fans of Oliver’s stance as opposed to Farrell’s, but I do think there are some comparables.

    • Isn’t the time to do that before you sign your contract though? To me it’s no different that someone selling a house or stock they own. There’s always a chance it’s going to be worth more in the future. It doesn’t mean you have the right to undo what you agreed upon just because the deal you agreed to doesn’t look as good as it did 12 months ago unless there’s language in the agreement to undo it. The fact that you sold it to someone with a shit tonne more money than you is completely irrelevant. The principle is the same.

      One other thing to look at is that his ploy might be holding the Jays back from doing something else like signing a solid replacement. If AA’s budget is as limited as it is reported to be, he’s got to factor in Oliver’s $3 million into that budget and he can’t use it for something else. If Oliver wants to string AA along in the hopes getting what he wants he’s possibly hampering the teams overall efforts to improve. While I generally have no problem with him trying to get what he wants in principle I stop at the point it affects the rest of the team. Of course there’s no way to know if AA has been hampered yet but it’s possible he is. As someone else said above, everyone needs to be focused on one goal this year and that’s winning games. If he’s really wavering that much then do the team a favour and just retire. The last thing the clubhouse needs after last year is any more negative vibes.

      • I think an extra win upgrading from Cecil/Loup to Oliver may very well offset whatever alleged clubhouse issues may or may not arise for Darren Oliver making $4 million next year.

        But I’m not against AA telling Oliver to fuck off. I just don’t agree with people vilifying Oliver for excercising his leverage.

        • Personally I don’t see Oliver being worth a whole extra win over Cecil or Loup by a long shot. All you have to do is look at the splits and see that both have been superior vs LHB even though Loup’s numbers are based on a SSS.

          In this case you’re risking that SSS vs Oliver’s age and now his apparent unwillingness to play at all.

          In half the innings Loup was worth only 0.2 fWAR less than Oliver in 2012. Cecil’s numbers vs LHB have been superior to Oliver’s over the last 3 years.

          • That’s a ridiculously small sample size on Loup, though.

            I mean, his BB rate was far lower than anything he did in the minors.

            And Cecil is a strict LOOGY, while Oliver has no such restrictions.

            It might not be a full win in terms of WAR. Maybe it’s only a half win in terms of WAR.

            But in terms of actual wins, it could very well be the difference between 93 & 94 wins, for example.

          • Better excelling as a LOOGY than nothing. All that would mean is other relievers being used in the right situations. Don’t forget if Oliver just retires then that money can be used for other things.

            Indeed on the small sample size but I think the risk on that is easily cancelled out by the risk that Oliver continues his regression. I just don’t see a big enough difference in potential fWAR between Oliver and his replacement to make all that much of a difference.

  17. Darren LOLiver.

    That’s about the extent of my thoughts and concerns.

    • Much like Frasor, I don’t feel strongly one way or the other. Black Magic did a great job for us, but it’s not like we’re losing Mariano Rivera if he decides to retire. As I said in another comment, I assumed he was already gone. Enjoy your kids and have fun watching your last team in the playoffs.

      • We may have all assumed he was already gone, but now he is saying “I am willing and able to play in 2013, but not with the blue jays at that price”

        • And to that I say, enjoy your time with your kids. We have a contract that we expect you to honour should you decide not to retire.

          As I said previously, Oliver did a great job last year. The Jays could use a specialist like him in the bullpen. That’s why they exercised the option they have on him. Oliver front loaded his contract because he expected to retire at the end of the first year. He wanted to be sure he got his money right away. Now he wants to have it both ways. Tough shit buddy. Either retire or play for what you agreed to in your contract.

          Oliver is not the only one with leverage. This is probably the last year he can/will play. If the Jays expect him to honour his contract he has two options: retire or play for the Jays. If AA caters to his “demands”, it’s a loss IMO and sets a terrible precedent.

  18. Darren Oliver isn’t a bad person/bad teammate because he’s trying to leverage retirement into a greater salary. It just seems like some fans don’t like being awoken to the reality that MLB is a business, that players are in it for the money, and that sometimes negotiations like this occur.

    This is actually good news to me because it suggests Oliver is likely ready to play another season at the right price and the Jays could be very much helped by that in 2013.

    • That’s an interesting way to look at it and I agree.

      The Jays control Oliver’s rights. While he may not be willing to play for $3 million, he is still a bargain at $4 million.

      If AA has the ability to stretch the budget, is he willing to make to do it for Oliver?

      Oliver could very well be worth an extra win over Cecil/Loup or whomever and an extra win for the Jays is huge.

      I think whatever AA does is defensible.

      But I’m not sure $4 million can buy anything better than Oliver.

    • Again I have no problems with him trying to get himself a better deal but the time for that was when he signed it not half way through it. As you said, it’s a business and it’s a two way street. The same principle that affords him protection from having his contract renegotiated when he has a shit season works in the other direction when he’s had a good season. He’s not being asked to waive a no-trade clause for the benefit of the team.

      • precisely. I don’t know why we are having all this verbal diarhhea. Okiver has 2 options if I am AA. Retire as is your right or show up and play for the 3m as per our agreement-that’s it. We overpaid him last year ( based on 2011 numbers and his finish in Texas where HE could not get either of 2 left handed batters out in the 11th inning of game 6 pf the WS that Texas blew) and we wouldn’t have got any money back if he shit the bed.
        I don’t let my kids say they weill shovel the walkway for 20 after we have agrred on 10 just because they want to change their mind. He can ask for more but AA has to hold firm here

    • I think that’s twisted. Despite what we have been conditioned to believe, being a good business man and being a good person are NOT one and the same.

      If you want to say he’s a good business man, fine. But don’t tell me his an honourable person.

  19. If it’s true that AA would have to move some money to accomodate Oliver, perhaps the most obvious trade candidate is JA Happ.

    Happ is set to make between $3 – $4 million via arbitration as the swingman.

    Which is a better use of that money Happ or Oliver + whatever middling prospect Happ brings in return?

    It’s a gamble either way, but I’d probably prefer Oliver. While I’m cool with Happ in the bullpen, there is no guarantee he is successful in that role just because Villaneuava was.

    • You know me, I’m not the biggest Happ fan by a long shot. But now you’re talking about moving valuable starter depth to accommodate a guy that’s not sure about playing anymore? A guy that’s set to contribute at most 60 innings and someone that could likely have his production replaced pretty reliably? Sorry man can’t agree with you on this one.

      • I disagree with the 60 innings that someone could easily replicate.

        And there is a big difference between 60 elite innings and 100 middling innings.

        Villaneuva, for example, has been worth 1.8 fWAR while throwing 230 innings the last two years.

        Oliver has been worth 2.4 fWAR while throwing 110 innings.

        I don’t really expect Happ to be better than Villanueva as a swingman next year.

        Oliver could decline and his age makes him risker, but people have been saying it for years and it hasn’t happened yet.

        It’s not apples to apples comparing a quality reliever to a swingman, but I think there is a good chance Oliver is more valuable than Happ next year.

      • me either, Happ provides flexibility and depth protection. Oliver is replaceable and could regress to his mean and besides at most he plays just this last year. I wouldn’t move mountains for a 42 yr old LOOGY which is really all that he is now,

    • We as fans, and the organization, painfully learned the value of pitching depth. The Jays have it this year, and trading it away to make payroll space for a reliever isn’t the greatest of ideas.

      • But it may very well be an either/or situation between Happ and Oliver depending on the budget constraints.

        I certainly would expect Oliver to be more valuable in the bullpen.

        The only way Happ is more valuable is if a starter goes down and he performs well.

        The current Jays starter made 148 starts last year, though.

        Plus there’s also what Oliver can bring back in trade. Likely not much, but maybe another team’s Chad Jenkins as AAA depth.

        • *what Happ can bring back in trade

          And, you know, the Jays could just sign Javier Vazquez.

          • I feel like what Happ could bring back in a trade would be roughly equivalent to what we’d get back from spending Oliver’s $3 million on a free agent.

  20. It’s another $1MM give it Black Magic he is worth it. AA didn’t come this far to nickel and dime over a measly mil.

    • It’s the principle and AA has already stated he won’t make decisions like that in the past. The premise is very similar to the negotiations with draft picks. He’s basically said that even though the amount to get the player signed isn’t all that much extra in some cases it’s the precedent of them going above their number and how it affects things in the coming year that they watch out for.

  21. Um, why can’t we all be right (well, except for the true idiots)? Obviously Oliver is welcome to do whatever he pleases and that makes him neither a bad person nor unreasonable.

    But also – why not say fuck him, as a fan I mean? He’s basically holding out, right? And it’s not like football where players hold out to gain the maximum reward for their current performance because their team will just cut them when they slip. Baseball players sign guaranteed contracts because it’s to their benefit to do so, and Darren signed a contract. There is literally no moral reason the Jays should honor either of his requests. You either play for your contract or you don’t play at all shitbag.

    Course, from a baseball perspective, cavin might not be so bad…

  22. I don’t like his style either, but I think another $1.5-2 mil is money well spent to to keep Brett Cecil and/or Evan Crawford off of this roster.

    • Brett Cecil is out of options. Like it or not…he’s gonna be spitting seeds in the bullpen unless he really shits the bed.

      • “…he’s gonna be spitting seeds in the bullpen unless he really shits the bed.”

        LOL now that is poetry.

  23. Consider that you are a garbage man, but like, really good at being a garbage man, whatever that might mean. Except, you’re also pretty old for a garbage man and so you say to your boss “I’m going to retire next year” and they say, “Well okay, but just for funsies how about you agree that if for some reason you don’t retire, you keep working here and not for the recycling corporation and also we keep paying you your modest pay.” And so you agree to it since you’re planning on retiring anyway, and why not? Okay, but then you finish out your last garbage year and it becomes pretty clear that your bosses are pretty happy with your garbage work and would love if you decided not to retire after all. So is it evil of you to say to them “Well, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad to sling garbage another year if I were just getting paid what I’ve seen the good garbage men getting paid in other neighbourhoods”?

    • I think people get all crazy about money when it comes to athletes and maybe it helps to consider that everybody wants to get paid more and every once in awhile, an opportunity arises to try do to that. Consider the garbage man.

    • The analogy is not correct, as Oliver is willing to continue slinging garbage for a garbage company, just not the Major Garbage Company located in Toronto. To extrapolate upon your incorrect analogy, the Major Garbage Company located in Arlington seems to suit his needs just fine (which unlike your recycling/garbage analogy is in fact a competitor with the garbage company in Toronto – though the labour inputs for recycling/garbage industries are probably similar). He has every right to ask for a raise with the garbage company in Toronto, under which he has contract obligations, but it doesn’t mean he should expect that raise or that said garbage company would allow him to compete with Garbage Company of Arlington LLP.

      • + loads and loads to MarkhamMapleLeaves. Perfectly put!

        That said, I don’t have hugely strong feelings about this either way. Except I would rather have Happ than Oliver if it came down to that choice. Given what happened last year, I prefer to have decent insurance in the pen for an injured pitcher over a brilliant lefty specialist.

  24. Why not just offer a BS “extension” mutual option for 2014 at a better salary (say $4mil) with a $1mil (ish) buyout? That way the Jays can decline and pay the buyout if things play out similarly next year. Or, they could just trade him and some cash to the Rangers for Robbie Ross (awesome)…

  25. While I commend you pointing out one of the flaws in your original argument, Oliver is not saying he is retiring. He is saying “I am available agent, but not to the team I signed a contract with.”

    • But really he is saying “I will play for more money or I will play for Texas or I will retire, choose one.”

      • Right, so he is willing to play. But not with the team he signed a contract with.

        It is entirely debatable that any price is the right price for him to play with the team he signed with, since he signed a legally binding contract to play with that team but clearly does not want to play at the price he signed at anymore. What price changes his mind about Toronto. An additional .5, 1.5, or 10m??

        Retirement is clearly a posture to attempt a money grab from the Jays, and the team is under no obligation to….. oblige.

  26. Are we voting? I vote try to trade him. If no taker, let him retire or play for the 3 mil. No taker would mean the 3 mil is reasonable. Or if Texas does want him and his 3 mil salary, at least we get something rather than have him retire and get nothing.

  27. I have this constant feeling of Oliver being traded to Texas for Jason Frasor.

  28. I dont see he greed etc in all that, i like darren oliver so I’m not going to throw him under the bus.

    however, the thing that bothers me is the importance placed on money. sure a raise would be nice, but he’s deciding on retiring or playing, not which city to play in.

    if your choice is you want to retire and be with your family, then let that be your decision.. what difference is it that your pay is 3 or 5 million? both are substantial sums.

    so either retire and be with your family, or play.

  29. Lets not forget what we actually know about the situation(almost nothing). For all we know, someone asked him off the record “hey, so be honest: which way you leaning?” and he says “well im probably thinking retirement.” Then they ask “well what if AA offered you more money? Would that affect your decision?” And he replies “well obviously it might impact my decision…” Suddenly theres a report surfacing that hes holding out for more money.

    Another way this might have played out is he tells the Jays he’s retiring, AA offers to up his salary and he decides to stay as a result. I dont think anyone would really have a problem with that.

    Now of course this is not how it went, but we really dont know what is going on and people seem to be putting words in his mouth based on an anonymous source with no statement from Oliver or his agent.

  30. I’m not fond of the optics but I’m looking at his play-off experience and thinking he could be more valuable to the team than even last year with the position the Jays are in.

    • His playoff experience in 2011 with Texas was awful culminating in game 6 of the WS which Texas led by 2 runs. He came in the 11th inning to face 2 LHB and didn’t retire either one and Texas lost the game and WS.
      His experience can be repalced. There is a reason Mr Oliver has played for 7 teams including Texas 3 times already-he’s ok but he is not Mariano Rivera so please…

      • nice cherry picked stats, one inning of one game.
        Pray tell, what is that reason that he’s played for 7 teams including Texas 3 times?

        • idiot, if you knew anything about baseball you would know that most relievers, Oliver included, have good years and bad years and thus often get moved a lot. Texas had him but he pitched weakly in the last part of 2011 and did poorly in the WS. Sure it was just one game, but if he blew that WS game for the BJs would you be in sucha hurry for him?
          Didn’t think so.
          AA has said on more than one occasion that paying relievers a lot of money is basically not good business sense because they, with few exceptions, are prone to severe ups and downs ( no I don’t have the actual quote, I am paraphrasing).
          Why do you think he played for Texas 3 times oh brilliant one?

          • Quit being a fukstik!

          • Looking at his late season stats from 2011 makes way more sense then the one WS game. they are, infact, terrible.

            Who said i was in a hurry for him? The pattern isn’t necessarily good/bad year to year though, but at his age why should the bluejays take a chance at increased cost?

            Don’t lay the burden of proof on me, you talked out of your ass as an authority on the topic, i was trying to get you to back it up with some reasonable explanation.

  31. Joey Bats, R.A Dickey you think your under paid. If that article is true then both sides have a point Oilver took two year deal knowing he’d retire…… If he’s not retiring surely he thought he be paid 3 million for 2013. In that article it also says Blue Jays saw the contract as front loaded. I don’t care either way if they trade him or give him a raise but I’d sure as hell like to have him in 2013. But it’s buisness on both sides….. who flinches first?

  32. Who gives a fuck about the principle, the precedent, or the optics of the matter. The fact is that most of us agree that the Jays are better off with Oliver on the team than without him. That should be what governs the situation. Oliver seems to be perfectly content retired, pitching for the Jays for more than $3 million, or pitching for the Rangers for $3 million. All three of these outcomes give Oliver a “win”. Only 1 of them benefits the Jays. If the money’s there, give it to him. If the money is not available, he retires. Oh well.

    I don’t give a fuck about any precedent because it’s such a unique set of circumstances that I’d be stunned if this ever came back up in the next couple of decades with the Jays let alone AA’s tenure with the Jays . How often are useful players signed to multi-year deals in which there is a credible retirement risk in the middle of the contract?

  33. For $4.5 mil, the Jays would be paying to keep a guy who had a career high 1.9 WAR last year (career high since he became a reliever). Regressing toward the mean, Oliver would safely post a WAR around 1.5 this year. I know the guy has a proven track record, but for that price, the Jays can for sure sign 2 guys on the cheap who can combine for at least that right? RIGHT? Plus the Jays have Loup who posted a 0.6 WAR in half a season last year. Keeping Oliver would be nice and all, but the Jays have the replacements to play some hardball with him and not worry about getting burned. Oliver doesn’t really have much leverage.

  34. So here’s another twist: what if we trade Oliver to Texas.

    I feel like Texas has had one of the most underrated off-seasons in baseball this year.

    You laugh, but getting rid of Michael Young, and having Profar and Olt for a full season is a huge boost on both offense and defense.

    Just look at that team, and compare it to our team.
    C: Pierzynski: .278/.326/.501 last season. His average was higher than JPA’s OBP.
    Infield+DH: Can’t really be sure who ends up at what position, but they’re adding two elite prospects to Beltre, Andrus, and Kinsler. Is that not the best infield in baseball? Our infield is good, sure, but it’s not that good, especially not if we’re playing Izturis at 2B and Lind at DH. I’m fine with Izturis at 2B, it’s just not as good as what Texas has going.
    Outfield: Obviously losing Hamilton hurts, but Texas still has Murphy (4.0 fWAR), Gentry (2.9 fWAR in only 269 PAs), and either Nelson Cruz (1.3 fWAR, 24 HRs) or Leonys Martin, who is a good enough prospect to make Sickels’ Top 50 list. Toronto has Cabrera, who could repeat; Bautista, who may or may not be healthy, and Rasmus. Appears to be a draw; probably a slight edge to Toronto if we get a full season of Bautista.

    Starters: Texas has Harrison (3.8 fWAR), Darvish (5.1 fWAR), Holland (who was crap last year but pulled a 3.8 fWAR season in 2011–in other words, our Ricky, except with a lower ceiling), Ogando (3.7 fWAR in 2011 when he last started; was in bullpen 2012 with similar rate stats), and Lewis (who pulled 2.1 fWAR last season in only 16 starts), with Martin Perez being their Drabek, except he’s healthy. Our rotation is better, but it’s close–Texas has starters who will give their team a chance to win every night if they send Perez to AAA (or if he figures things out).
    Relievers: Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Neftali Feliz, Jason Frasor, Lindblom, Scheppers… would appear to be a better bullpen than we’ve got.

    Now what was the point of all that? As you can see, Texas matches up quite well with us on paper, such that they’ve got to be considered one of our, if not our strongest competition for the AL pennant. (Have you seen the Angels’ rotation lately? Detroit’s rotation looks formidable but they still have holes in that lineup, not unlike us.)

    Oliver would like us to trade him to Texas, potentially for peanuts. (Who is Texas going to give us for Oliver, in all seriousness?) We’re not merely helping out one of our own players, we’re strengthening the team we might be playing in the ALCS.

    Now I’d want to play for a contender too vs wasting away the last year of my career–it’s not like Oliver’s accumulating the last few Ks he needs to make the hall of fame. So I get wanting to play for Texas. Not to mention the family being nearby. But dealing Oliver makes our (strongest?) competitor’s bullpen that much better, while making our own that much worse.

    Fuck that, Oliver. Play for us or retire. I’m sure you didn’t mean any harm, but we can’t afford to have you in Texas.

  35. I don’t know how much is true in this Oliver business, but fuck any player who has a contract with the Jays and doesn’t want to play.

    I love me some Happ so the more of him the better.

  36. I’m a little disappointed that Oliver is doing this. The chance to negotiate was when he was an FA. However, it’s also within his rights to do what he is doing. I feared that he may have done this when he had such an amazing season. As much as he’d be a great addition for the 2013 team. If he doesn’t want to honour the $3 million for 2013 that he already signed on for then he can retire. As much as I hate the 1%ers!, he should honour the contract. But he has every right to extract as much money or find the most ideal situation for his family/self.

  37. Although I feel for Oliver, I feel this may set an undesirable precedent.

  38. When AA negotiated the contract it is likely that the 2012 salary included a ‘bump’ in exchange for the option on 2013. i.e. without the option he likley gets paid less in 2012.

    To then turn around and try and re-negotiate that option seems to me a little bit tacky and somewhat counter-intuitive given there is the chance to go to the WS.

    I mean in what circumstance would he actually have honoured the option and played:
    - He pitched great in 2012
    - The jays have the best team they have had for years with a real playoff chance.
    - The geography of Toronto has not changed

    He can try this and I understand it but it remains a tacky thing to do.

    I mean he could have said ‘no just a 1 year contract for me thanks’ – and it would not have come to this. He would have been paid less in 2012 – I think it’s hard to argue with that.

    Also Stoeten you like to talk about slippery slopes but the same applies to your it’s just $1m of Rogers money argument.

  39. I gotta disagree with anyone who finds this defensible.

    Oliver signed a deal last year with the Jays. Why with the Jays if he wanted to be so close to his family? Likely because they paid him more than anyone else.

    Would the Jays have paid $4 million in the first year without the cheap option? Maybe, but maybe not.

    Like it or not for Oliver, he’s bound to it and trying to mess with that now doesn’t play for me.

    Let’s face it. MLB has the highest salaries if all North Anerican pro sports, with the least physical toll on the athletes. Its a pretty dann good deal for the players. There are no holdouts in MLB for a reason.

    Play hardball and if he decides to retire, send him to Houston for cash.

    • Pounded a bit harsher than I meant.

      I don’t dislike Oliver and wiuld live to have him back. Also i understand it is business and don’t blame Oliver for trying.

      But Jays shouldn’t even entertain the notion of altering the contract.

    • except they would then flip him to Texas. No ,either retire or play for us-that’s it

  40. Geez, think back 2 months ago when the season was mercifully coming to an end – Oliver was one of the few guys that actually had a great year. Even with the off season AA transformation, I can’t blame the guy for thinking twice about returning to the shit show here in Toronto…I say make it worth his while…

  41. My biggest problem with all of this is –

    Isn’t the deal that people bitch about with teams controlling players for six years negotatied by the player’s union?

  42. I disagree with all the moralists out there, where do you guys work that you wouldn’t do the same thing if you had the chance?

    Aren’t you aware your bosses would ship your job to India if they could?

  43. The more I think about this the worse it gets. He’s basically demanding a trade to Texas or a raise. If AA tells him to go fuck himself, AA becomes the asshole who forced poor old Oliver to retire. Black Magic indeed

    • If AA doesn’t cave, he sends a message that he isn’t a punk. If what is being reported/tweeted about the situation is actually reliable, Oliver is the only one that comes out of this looking bad.

  44. I don’t think AA becomes the asshole. He’s been made to make a choice, he makes the choice. I’d be surprised, given what I’ve seen of him, if he negotiates with Oliver. He seems to me to be a guy who values the terms of an agreed contract and won’t be pushed into changing them.

  45. My first thought on this whole Black Magic conundrum was why not incentizvize (ya I make up my own fucking words!) the extra 1-2 million that it might or might not take to coax him back as it was mentioned somewhere in the previous thread.

    Are incentives in a deal publicized? If so, even better, AA can save some face with other players if it even fucking matters. Or will such details leak out of Selig’s ass?

    Base it on IP or games or how many fucking times he purposely walks a batter to face the other teams best hitter. Oliver was fucking lights out last season, I can recall maybe a couple few times he was beat but I also remember times where he seemed to be fucking toying with the hitters like they were his personal star wars toy.

  46. Rent a big condo for July & August and offer to fly his family to and from TO every home stand and/or select road trips. The optics of honouring the 3m contract plus respecting his family first values = Win-win?

    • Billion

    • If you’re his wife and kids, do you want to have to schlep yourselves from Texas to Toronto throughout the summer? As much as I am sure my wife and kids enjoy my company, there is no way in hell they do that.

      Love the new handle @CS200K!

  47. Either you play with us or enjoy retirement. I say fuck him because once at a game, I caught him checking out my wife from the bullpen, and it wasn’t just a glace, it was downright ogle. and he did it several times.

  48. this post was much more reasonable. agree with what’s been said from Jays2010, etc.
    Hope it ends with Oliver coming back though!

  49. Now that the Jays are legitimate contenders, I expected that Oliver would be excited to return to a team that gives him a shot at a ring.
    Ship him back to Texas, AA.

  50. I dont have the time right now to go throught the 150 or so posts to see if someone has made this point. But when the Jays signed him last year both Oliver and the Jays knew that a player in his 40′s is always very close to retirement. The Jays knew damn well that even if they exercised their option that Oliver was likely to retire and if they didnt, they only had to listen in to Buck and Tabby any time they trotted him out. It’s a “hammer” that Oliver has and there shouldn’t be any recriminations at all. He retires or they work out a deal: simple. Oliver isnt the first ever player under contract to ask for a raise and all he’s asking for is -as I understand it- less than they paid him last year. (4 mill vs 4.5 mill). what .

  51. Oliver has two choices:

    a) $3m from the Jays or
    b) retire

    If true he wants $1m-$2m more/year to play in Toronto, it’s about $$’s. The main point is Oliver is willing to play in Toronto but for a certain price.

    The opportunity cost to Oliver is $3m if the Jays call his bluff and Oliver retires. Would Oliver rather make $3m or $0?

    If it’s all about the $$’s to Oliver, he’d take the $3m.

    If it’s more than just $$’s to Oliver, and it very well could be (ie. family), I retire.

    But if I’m Oliver and it’s the latter, I could either retire or find the middle ground – hope to play in Texas for $3m/year to be closer to family. But this requires the Jays to trade Oliver’s contract for something of value, whatevever that might be.

    For the Jays, the questions are a) does Oliver want to play and if so, b) will he retire if the Jays don’t pony up? and c) if so, will Oliver play in Texas & if so, can the Jays get something of value?

    Obviously Oliver will not disclose his actual thoughts to leverage his position – so if I’m the Jays & I’m self-interested, I either sign him for extra $$’s or trade him for something of value. Or if I have information/hunch Oliver does not want to retire, I play hardball.

    Which leads me to the likely conclusion the Jays just don’t know what Oliver’s actually thinking – which likely means this probably isn’t going to get resolved anytime soon unless Oliver gives in by either playing for $3m or requesting less additional $$’s. But he wants more $$’s & the Jays are not just gonna pony up extra $’s. Ultimately, the Jays will likely pay more but not as much as Oliver requested.

  52. A lot of this backlash to the Oliver thing comes from the Torontonian inferiority complex. Torontonians staunchly view themselves as a city that is one of North America’s finest in every way (and for the most part they are correct). Because of this, they take great offense to anybody indicating a preference for anywhere else, like apparently Oliver has. Example reaction: “That guy would rather be in ARLINGTON than here?!?!?! fuck him!”…etc. For the record, this is coming from a West-Coaster who lived in T-dot for the last five years and is not intended as a jab at Torontonians.

  53. Blue Jays are in a position of power. They need to do nothing and Oliver has to retire. As long as he’s under contract to Toronto they control him. Toronto could demand the moon from anyone Oliver wants to play with. If Oliver shows up in Spring Training, release him.

  54. Its funny how so many people can comment on a person and say what they are thinking and feeling but yet have never even had that person in arms length let alone had a conversation with them to know anything about the way they feel or live their daily life. Everyone out there saying negative things about DO, you should be ashamed of yourself. He has always worked for less then he deserves, true DO fans know this. Yes he wants to be with his family, and trust me they will be with him a lot this season, as they are every season, something people that don’t know him don’t know!!! He does everything he can to have his family where he is…..boys growing up now not as easy to convince them to go since they want to be with friends. Darren will be back this year playing for the BlueJays, they keep saying its his 20th year in the bigs, but actually its his 19th, he didn’t play in 05 , because they tried to jack him around, so he retired that year…….I truly believe that was gods plan, because ever since then he has been a great addition to every team he has been with. I don’t let things bloggers say about him bother me, well, the ones that say family isn’t important to him, that bothers me, because you don’t know him to say that , but to tell you all the truth…..would I love for him to be home full time…..yes, he is an awesome dad, does so much with the boys when he is home and we miss him so much when he goes to play ball, but we also go whenever we want, if one of us is missing him, we go see him….and not to mention he is living the dream of so many little and big boys out there, its just something I can’t say no to or take away, when I think about it like that. Please trust me when I say, these days D.O. doesn’t play ball for the money, he plays for his love of the game, and as much as I want him home with us, I want for him to live his dream, the one so many have but never reach. Please be respectful, he deserves it….lovingdoalwaysandforever

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