Kenny Ken Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports seem to actually have something resembling a kernel of information about what’s going on with Darren Oliver, who continues to mull retirement– ostensibly, we’ve been told all along, to be with his family, though… uh… maybe not only for that.

They report:

Oliver, 42, wants to play, but is not willing to return to the Toronto Blue Jays unless the team increases his salary from $3 million, according to major-league sources.

The reliever would rather retire than be away from his family for a salary that is well below market value, sources say.

C’mere kids. Now, you know your ol’ man loves you so very much, right? So much that he’d turn down $3-million just to have a chance to be a bigger part of these crucial years of your development as upstanding young people. You know that, don’tcha, kids? 

Yeah, well, the thing is… if they tossed in another $1.5-million…

In a way, I almost can’t blame Oliver here for trying to maximize his earning potential after having yet another superb year at the age of 41. But in another, more fucking believable way, he’s kinda being a bit of dickhead. He signed the damn contract– a deal that “was front-loaded at Oliver’s request,” we’re told, mostly because he didn’t think he’d be coming back for another year– and it’s still three-million-fucking-dollars!

Plus, it’s not like he’s the first person in the history of the goddamn world to be playing on a below-market deal. R.A. Dickey won the effing Cy Young and then signed an extension that pays him $5.25-million this year! Granted it’s a backloaded contract, but still. Jose Bautista, at $14-million, is probably a shitload more below market in total dollars than Oliver too.

Should these guys also be maximizing their earning potential?

Should the Jays– who, the Fox report tells us, “want Oliver back, but are over budget and unwilling to extend their payroll further”– just cave and pay him a little more?

Thinking entirely in on-field baseball terms, of course the Jays would be a better club if they kept him, and the cost to do so wouldn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme. Yet, as much as I’m usually loath to give two shits about things like “the kind of message it sends” and related logic, I can totally see why the Jays would want to stand on principle and insist that Oliver play under the terms of the contract he signed or not at all. I don’t necessarily think paying him would lead to a rash of holdouts or any of that slippery slope kind of nonsense, but… it truly wouldn’t look good, and– on a more guttural level– surely would be a whole lot more satisfying to call his bluff and not stand for what looks like his negotiating last winter in bad faith.

“Oliver’s perspective is that the Jays already have demonstrated an ‘all-in’ approach by making their blockbuster with the Miami Marlins and another trade with the New York Mets for right-hander R.A. Dickey,” the Fox pair writes. “Why not extend a little more, particularly for a pitcher who has given the team a strong clubhouse presence in addition to elite performance?”

You mean the guy who built up a narrative all about wanting so badly to stay home with his kids, which he’s now trying to leverage into a raise? It’s smart business, I’ll give him that. And it never will cease to amaze me how quickly people will start talking about “greed” for his wanting to get a probably-deserved raise out of the pockets of fucking Rogers, or like he’s entirely about the money and nothing else, as though it’s really all that simple. But… yeah.

He’s a fucking terrific pitcher and I badly want to see him back with the team and not have to hold some petty contract dispute against him, but he’s not exactly making it easy here, is he?

“A trade to the Rangers represents a possible compromise, and Oliver likely would be more flexible in his financial requirements if he could be closer to home,” we’re told. Which… aww, how nice.

Tough shit, though. The Jays can play hard, too, and force him to turn down the $3-million they’d gladly pay him to return. If he’s as concerned about extracting every last penny as this makes it seem, I’m not sure he’s going to find that quite so easy.

Comments (171)

  1. Beat it Black Magic.

    Whatta joke

    • To quote John Malkovich in Rounders, “pay that meean his meeoney.” He’s already supplanted Gustavo Chacin for the Level of Excellence. If he’s worried about his family just fly his kids up here, hire some of the teachers pensioners and build a school in the skydome hotel or whatever it’s called. I can see the first class now, ‘eye-black spanish 101′.

  2. Greed. Ain’t nothin’ but greed.

    • Not exactly.

    • Fucking 1%-er

      Prolly wants to pay nominal taxes and pack heat too…

      • @ Out West.

        No state income tax in Texas. New federal Tax rates in uSA 39.6 vs 35% so a 4% pay cut for all ballplayers, since major league minimum is 500K or so.

        I don’t think AA wants to set a precedent of paying a guy extra on his contract.

        Wouldn’t Bautista get angry?

        Best option is a trade to Texas. We don’t even have to get a reliever but they must have someone we want.

  3. the next bit of magic will be him disappearing

  4. No. Either play for the Jays for 3 million or don’t play at all.

    Well, unless the Rangers are offering Profar.

    • I’d settle for Olt , imagine him platooning with Lind for DH and playing 1st/3rd occasionally, if only Oliver had that kind of value.

      • it’s not even a position of need for the Rangers and they are only team in play here. There is no way a top 200 prospect is in play here much less a top 20 guy. I think a reliever back, hopefully one with options, makes more sense.

        • I really doubt they were serious. Of course a reliever traded in this scenario would garner next to zero return.

  5. I’ve decided to change my screen name due to the number of impostors who pretend to be me. One would think Stoeten would do something to block out these impostors, but he seems indifferent to my plight. Probably some of them will try to hijack this name too.

    • Sorry, dude. I’ve blocked the few that I come across but I’m not exactly combing the comments every day for this kind of stuff.

      • This isn’t the real oakville69 either.

        You can tell because there isn’t a double line break in between each sentence.

        Also because the post doesn’t end with a straw man question with not-so-veiled criticism of Rogers.

        Will Stoeten begin to take swift action against those who seek to impugn oakville69′s dignity, or will his corporate overlords stop him from doing what needs to be done to improve DJF?

        • @Ginger.

          Good call. Yes I am the real oakville69.

          The impersonation game is tiresome but I am a better sport about it.

          I think I have my own style of writing, so you can tell whether it’s me or not.

          My citicism of Rogers was valid & now that the team is set up to compete , I won’t complain .

          I am curious if Rogers will use the expected success of the Jays in 2013-2015, to pump up the value of the Jays & sell part of it to MLSE to get a bigger share of the pie.

          There are synergies to bringing the Jays into MLSE.

          You could have co ordinated ticket selling operations.

          You wouldn’t be subject to down revenues if the jays floundered again.

          A couple of playoff runs will make the Jays worth close to a billion.

          The Astros sold for more than 500 million

      • wrong stoeten is always looking for me which is why I change my username to keep him on the run.

      • I was the first to be impersonated

      • As you said the other day … going back to Discus would be good.

    • You aren’t the real oakville69. Stoeten knows my email address so he can tell who the real one is.

      I am a fan of Travis Snider. So what. Is Melky an upgrade over Travis ?, Yes. He was the batting champ in the NL before he got suspended.

      Did the Jays waste part of 2012 putting Eric Thames on the opening day roster rather than Travis? Yes.
      I like Thames, but the organization had invested a lot of years in Travis so if he was healthy he deserved a shot at regular playing time.

      If he got hurt, then bring up Thames.

      The Jays mismanagement of Thames has been widely documented on this site & the infamous Davidi interview with Snider.

  6. I also cant believe oliver wouldnt want to come play here after seeing all the major changes this team made. He should be pumped to come back and give it another shot at winning the title. It looks like winning isnt his main priority which reflects badly on him. $3M isnt chump change.

    • See, it’s just not that simple. He may very well want to come back as badly as everyone wants to see him back. This isn’t a window into his soul, it’s a negotiating tactic.

      • Dudes under contract there should be zero negotiating tactics taking place. I like Oliver a lot but Fuck!

      • If things go according to how negotiations like this generally do – and if, that is, the Jays are wanting him back and are at least playing phone-tag – he’ll end up signing for about half of what he’s asking, on top of his three million. If he wants 1.5 and will (after all is said and done) take 750, I’d do it.

      • It could also be total bullshit.

      • And how the fuck is that fair game? The time for negotiating tactics was 12 months ago. If he doesn’t feel the terms are fair, he has no one to blame but himself and his agent. If he really wants to spend time with his family, that’s entirely understandable, but he should just retire instead of trying to “negotiate” better terms on a contract he agreed to, or better yet, asking the Jays to trade him to a team they could very well be competing with for a playoff spot throughout the year. Is $1 million really going to make it that much more worthwhile to the point where suddenly you can stomach being away from them?

        Sure, calling him a shitty person or making other harsh judgement about his character based on this alone isn’t exactly fair. But this isn’t the least bit defensible either

        • How is it fair? He’s not forcing anybody to do anything, and if he retires, the reason he retires is pretty immaterial. So… so what? Call his bluff.

          I mean, would you accept it if you asked for a raise you were sure you were owed and were told that the time for negotiating tactics was 12 months ago and to go away? Maybe you would. Maybe you wouldn’t have asked in the first place. Maybe you believe your reasoning to ask enough that you quit. I don’t think there’s an easy answer, and I definitely don’t think it changes because of the salaries involved.

          I mean… he shouldn’t be allowed to try to do better for himself? OK, his doing so doesn’t leave a great taste in my mouth either, but saying that it’s indefensible that he even try is absurd.

          • I agree with Red… he signed the contract, he should deal with it until it’s over… pretty simple

          • Then tell me, what’s the point of his signing a contract with an option year at the end? To get more money out of the Jays in year one? Its likely that it was a factor in securing that salary in the first place, he wouldn’t agree to the option if it wasn’t. You’re trying to tell me that’s defensible and not even a little bit scummy?

            But who gives a fuck, its EVIL ROGERS!!!111!! and they have billions, so good on Darren Oliver to try to get as much out of the rat bastards as he can right? He should be lauded for fighting the establishment, the oppressive regime, since this is obviously still the 50s and players being treated unfairly is still a legitimate talking point

            Give me a fucking break

    • Also, his family is probably having a say in it too. I don’t think it’s totally up to him alone.

  7. At this point, the extra marginal increase of 1-1.5 wins Oliver gives us is well worth the 4-5M salary or 1-2M increase in total. Yeh it looks bad on the Jays, but this is about winning and having one of the games truly elite left handers in the bullpen for another season is a HUGE plus for the jays at this point. Now if he wants more than 5M to come back then let him go.

  8. Just retire so we can sign someone who actually wants to play and actually wants to be a part of the 2013 Jays, dick.

  9. What could the Jays realistically get for him from the Rangers under the circumstances?

  10. I don’t hold this against him at all. He is perfectly within his rights to simply retire and walk away from the game if he wishes. He is also within his rights to say to the Blue Jays that he is leaning towards retirement but that if the Blue Jays are willing to add a little extra coin he would be willing to forego that right to retire for another year…. I view this as being different than someone who had signed a contract and is going to hold out (as opposed to retire) unless the team renegotiates his contract.

    • There is no room on the Bus to the World Series for passengers who aren’t sure they want to ride. 100% buy-in is mandatory. So…fuck Oliver. Let him retire, trade him to Pittsburgh just to make sure he does.

  11. Oliver saying he’s not sure if he’ll play or not because he wants to be with his family…. unless of course they offered me more money, is kind of like when zaun and mccown were talking and demanded escobar be released because of the homophobic slur…. plus he’s not having a great year. You can’t play the good guy high road shit and be dick.

  12. tough to put myself in Oliver’s shoes. Kids, Money and a bionic left arm are things I don’t have…

  13. who needs Darren oliver when we can still sign oliver perez

  14. it’s not personal, it’s business. if you want me , cough up.

    • He signed a contract agreeing to this years salary, he isn’t very loyal to the contract.

  15. If I were him, I’d have done the same…did you see how many idiots were tweeting at him to try and get him to change his mind and return for the next season?

  16. Does an extra $1.5M really matter? Especially if its only one year…

    • would it matter to you??
      Look, in business, a deal is a deal. Assumimg everything written is true he was basically overpaid last year for his performance the year prior. Remember, he only came to the Jays in January because NO ONE else was pursuning him at that point and TEXAS did not want him anymore, at least not for major coin. If he had gone 2-6 with an ERA of 4.50 like Cordero, would he now be saying “hey I’ll give some back??
      I agree with many who in different words, have said basically-show up or retire end of story otherwiise you are starting to show what I think is a dangerous precedent.
      Even if he feels like he is underpaid this year ( and he is not alone i’m sure), he was overpaid with a front load deal last year, so Darrell, STFU.
      I for one would tell him to piss off and if need be, we will find someone else, otherwise show up in Dunedin

  17. Did Oliver sign his contract before the big moves the offseason or not?

  18. I get it. I really do.

    This is just like a friend of mine who plays organ for a church. After doing it for years he was tired of it and didn’t want to do it anymore, so he told them that they could increase his pay or he was going to quit, fully expecting and hoping they’d tell him to walk. Instead, they met his pay demand.

    I ask him later, “I thought you said you didn’t have the time to play for them anymore.” He replies, “yeah, but, the money. I could really use that money. And besides, it would’ve been a dick move to demand a pay raise then quit anyways.”

    So that’s how I see Oliver. He’s done with the game. Doesn’t want to road trip anymore, doesn’t want to ice that arm after games, just wants to be home. The money isn’t worth it anymore. But if the Jays want to up his contract, well, eventually there would come a point where he still wouldn’t be into it, but for that much money, he’d suck it up.

    Now the question for the Jays is, do they really want someone back who’s clearly mentally retired? Oliver was obviously excellent last season, so maybe the Jays suck it up and pay him, because a mentally retired Oliver is still better than most relievers out there.

    But there’s the small problem of precedent. If the Jays renegotiate with Oliver, even supposing Oliver is this shining white knight of purity and morals, that’s still going to have repercussions. What’s to stop the next guy from pointing to this as precedent and demanding his own pay raise? What’s the point of long-term contracts if one that breaks friendly for the team is only going to get renegotiated?

    Maybe simply for looks the Jays negotiate a two-year contract extension for Oliver that pays him $8 million a year, with a nice signing bonus payable immediately, and then Oliver can retire at the end of the season. But I can’t imagine anyone buying that if it happens.

    So the likely result is the Jays call Oliver’s bluff, and he either shows up to camp in March slightly less happier than he would have been, or (more likely) Oliver retires.

    Though it would be hilarious if we traded Oliver to Texas for Frasor.

    • Well thought out.

    • I would totally agree with all of that if he only asked for the trade to join his family in Dallas, but the minute he says “well, I’ll stay in Toronto if they pay me market value” it takes away from any family argument. Maybe Boston should ask Oliver for the $7M back that he didn’t earn in 2002.

    • there are more reasons to let him retire than to try and up his compensation. Like you pointed out, the signals that he has checked out are there. Combined with his age and the precedent it sets, I say let him retire or trade him; he isn’t worth the risk of being in the clubhouse as either disgruntled, finished or richer.

  19. Who do the jays have other than Oliver for left hand relievers? And who is out there that would be in the 3mil range

    • Loup. Pretty much Loup.

      And Happ and Cecil, but not sure those are true LOOGYs yet.

      • Cecil’s numbers have been better vs LHP in terms of avg/obp/slg and woba the last 3 years and that’s as a starter. They should only improve when he has to just pitch an inning or face a single batter.

        The Jays have plenty of options vs LHB outside of Cecil, Loup and Oliver. Delabar and Janssen for instance have excellent reverse splits and do very well against LHB.

  20. Geez, I had already assumed he wouldn’t be back. Like Stoeten, I’m torn. $1.5MM doesn’t strike me as a deal breaker given Oliver’s performance, but I suspect that AA is bristling at having Oliver renogotiating his contract instead of honoring it.

    I’m saying goodbye to Oliver now. I’d say the odds of him coming back are less than 10%.

    • yep-Id’t tell him to walk also. No ONe is above the team. Bye Darrel. Like someone mentioned did he offer the Bosox any $$ back after shitting the bed for them?
      Thought so. Fuck off, then

  21. Like every other Jays fan, I want Black Magic on the field, however he signed a contract. This is greed. 3 million for one year is not chump- change

  22. This is Oliver’s final contract, and he knows we need his talent – a scarcity of resource if you will. So maybe its more money, or a coaching gig in 2014. Whatever it is, you negotiate in good faith – make it based on performance (not many MLB pitchers like that though), give him something to feel appreciated, and then, lets win this thing.

  23. Is is possible that the Jays could extend him for another year at the same amount with an increased buyout? i.e, another $3 million club option for 2014 with a $1.5 million buy out?

  24. Don’t have a problem with it. The guy has played for a long time and has made the “playoff run” many times. Pretty common for business owners or executives to be given a bonus to delay retirement after a merger/acquisition in order to transition new ownership.

  25. to quote the great Teddy KGB from Rounders- “pay the myan his fyacking myoney”

    • the worst fake russian accent ever. Even Arnie in Red Heat did a better job than Malkovich did in rounders.

  26. AA fucked up, he should have said ” sign on by this certain date or get off the fucking pot you greedy cunt!” now his options of signing a decent lefty to replace him is dwindling. he should have just signed mike gonzalez and told oliver to suck the high hard one, that fucking fucker!!!

    • The Blue Jays exercised Oliver’s option. There is nothing more that the team can do. Oliver is entitled to retire whenever he wants. Even if AA gave a drop-dead date to Oliver as you suggest, Oliver could still let that date pass and retire whenever he wanted to do so.

      • thats where AA fucked up, he should not have commited so early and let oliver drag his fuckin feet. AA hung himself, he should have said we both agree by xmas or have a good hard suck on me arse cause i will sign someone else whose not a greedy cunt and who has morals, fuckin terd!!

        • What you are suggesting doesn’t make any sense.

          Oliver has all the power. He can retire whenever he wants, regardless of whatever you think a drop dead date means.

        • That wasn’t an option. The Blue Jays were required by terms of the collective agreement to make a decision on whether to exercise their 2013 option by November 1, 2012. If they didn’t exercise their option by that date, he would have been a free agent and free to sign a contract with any other team that he wished.

  27. U realized u scoff at the idea of “how it looks as a club house” but like the principle of how standing your ground looks as an organization……both are the same fucking thing lol

  28. I suppose from his point of view he’s got to try and do what’s best for himself but I would say fuck it and let him walk. From the club’s perspective I’d be calling it bullshit. The Jays have 2 completely viable LOOGY’s in Cecil and Loup to replace him. While certainly not the “sure thing” a veteran like Oliver is, oh wait, that’s right there is no sure thing when it comes to pen arms, how silly of me, I’m sure their production has a very good chance of being about the same. That said, I’d be happy for him to come back but not for more dollars. He signed his contract, time to deal with it. $3 million isn’t exactly chump change in the grand scheme of things though I bet it’s probably hard for someone who has made close to $50 million in his career to see that. The Jays were fair when they gave a 41 year old pitcher the security of a 2nd year when they signed him.

  29. The sad thing about this is that Oliver, from what little I’ve seen/heard/read about him, seems to be a generally awesome dude.

    Shouldn’t we take this with a grain of salt? It’s not like we have a direct quote from Oliver. This could just have been spun out of speculation – “I’d bet he’d come back if it were for more money!” – and it’s not like the source is named either.

    It could be true, but I think we need to hear it from Oliver before calling this report gospel.

  30. I have no problem with what Oliver is doing.

    You hear players near the end of their careers all the time saying how they’ll only come back for a certain amount of money.

    Lance Berkman is doing this now. Jermaine Dye has done it in the past. Many veterans retire if teams are only offering minor league contracts.

    Oliver is no different than AA. He places a value on his services and will not play for a penny less.

    Good for him.

  31. Fuck the precedent it sets. It’s all based on current circumstances anyways. The whole baseball world knows that the Jays are all in for 2013. And most people, if they were running the Jays, would put quality left handed bullpen arm at or near the top of their current relatively short roster wish list. So it’s good negotiation tactics on Black Magic’s part, and the Jays need to remain short term thinkers no matter what. So if its an extra $1M he wants, well, get together with him asap (while the window of opportunity exists), and hammer out a deal (of course negotiate to meet half way or thereabouts, work in incentives if possible, but be willing to give a million more or so). Obviously if he’s looking for another $3M or something more ridiculous, you can’t just give in to any amount. But he seems like a reasonable, mature guy, so there should be a deal that can be made here that both parties would be satisfied with.

    If the Jays don’t do it, they maybe save a million or so bucks but they have to rely on Loup, Cecil and Happ (*shudder*). So as unsettling as it might seem in the moment, all things considered, I prefer the Oliver scenario. Fuck, I’m just happy there’s a chance… I was convinced he was not coming back at all.

    “Everybody’s got a price.” – T. Dibiase

    • @Ron Hassey


      The Jays were more than fair with Oliver. If the fuckin guy doesnt wanna be apart of a champioship team while honouring his contract which was “player friendly”, then lettem walk.

      See Ya

      • I think if the Jays do win a title, he’d be a pretty integral part of it. Without him, I don’t know exactly what other options are out there, but I’m guessing they’re not clearly as solid as him. Cecil sucks. Happ and Loup are nothing special. all risky alternatives.

        Fuck what’s “fair” or “honourable”. Don’t let emotions get in the way of doing business.

      • +2

        • meant for chanse-christ I hate the way the comments appear here sometimes. I agree with you chanse-tell him to FO. Relievers often have a bad year after a good one anyway. Shit why do you think Oliver has played for so many teams anyway?

          • I don’t know what it was, but something happened in 2004 that made him into a star reliever. He was pretty shitty before that, but he’s been money ever since. Check his stats, he’s pretty fucking solid.

  32. no one made him agree to the option. he should honour the contract or retire, not ask for more money.

    Had he had a bad 2012, would he have offered some money back ? no, it doesn’t work like that.

    You sign the contract. Imagine EVan Longoria or other players signed to team friendly deals did this? its bogus, blame your agent, blame yourself.

  33. oliver is a scum bag. you dont see jose or edwin pulling this shit. in case you don’t know oliver has made 46 million in his career. if that isn’t enough then go fuck yourself. yeah life is tough olly, 1st class planes, fine hotels, working 6 months of the year. he’s the only guy who doesn’t want to be here so trade his ass

    • Who says he doesn’t want to be here? We don’t know that. We’re seeing that he’d take less to be closer to home, if we believe the reports, but let’s be clear, this is a negotiating tactic. Yes, he’s already got lots of money, but so do the people he’s negotiating with. Your position, in case you weren’t aware, is to insist that Rogers should keep that money, no questions asked.

      If you disagree with him because you think he negotiated in bad faith or that the right thing to do is to honour the contract he signed, OK. But suggesting he already has enough, therefore whatever he might be able to extract for himself is out of bounds and must be pocketed by ownership? You don’t see the problem with that?

      Like I’ve said, I don’t like the tactic, I think he should honour his contract, and I think the Jays should play hardball right along with him, but to put it in such black and white terms as he’s a greedy scum and Rogers deserves to pocket the money in dispute any more than he does isn’t right either, in my view.

      • 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.

        • Can’t disagree, especially the last line.

          • I’m sure Oliver is a nice guy, great father and husband. Shrewd business man too, he’ll either play for 3 Mil or he won’t; asking for a raise doesn’t prevent him from playing at the price he is currently signed on for.
            Still, I say fuck him. Let him retire, no raise, no hard feelings.

        • Owners have 6 years of control to maximize leverage – but they can’t change the contract terms for worse half way though. Its an apples and oranges situation. I love Oliver, but why even sign a contract for less money in the 2nd year – unless he never intended to play – but now sees the team around him improve so drastically that he does – but wants his old contract. He made a mistake. So did the Jays with Adam Lind – but they can’t take half of his money back now.

    • its not the same situation tho….at all. neither of those players are in their end of their career where they can literally retire with the legacy they have or be a key player on someones ball team at the age of 41. You want him to miss 1 more year of his kids growing up and get a PRIME and proven pitcher that is hard to find anywhere else? well u are gonna have to pay for it. Yeah he agreed with the last contract but even then it was a steal. The only real question is. DOES HE DESERVE IT?…yes. most definitely he deserves a few more dollars. Is he gonna get 18M? nah. But he deserve a few more million.

  34. Be interested to know if anyone has ever done a study on this “veteran” narrative to show that it actually has some merit to it. specifically in the bullpen. I know everyone just assumes veteran = successful for the most part, especially here, but I’d love to see a study showing that on a $ basis they are more successful than someone like Loup who is heading into his second year.

    The way I look at is if he walks then oh well. Would love to have him, but I see 2 perfectly good replacements for him who are cheaper and younger. If those guys don’t work out then I trade for a LOOGY come the trade deadline. No biggie.

    • This exactly. Darren Oliver is good – but come mid-season we can simply choose the best one on a loosing team.

  35. Is it just me, or does $3 million seem like fair market value? I mean, Frasor just signed for $1.5M, I don’t he would get much more than $3M on the FA market.

  36. let him retire, then call him in late may seeing if he wants to play the last 4 months at 3mm. everyone saves face, no bad precedents are set and we get our lefty killer down the stretch.

  37. According to Baseball Reference, Oliver’s earned roughly $43 million over the course of his career, with $3m on the table for this coming season. Maybe it’s about being with family, or posturing, or whatever, but bitching about your “well below market value” salary that you agreed to in prior negotiations doesn’t exactly play well.

    Wish I had the kind of problems where I had to decide if $3m was worth it.

  38. Thought experiment. If DJF offered readers the option of reading each article in either the disengaged pragmatist version or alarmist moralising version, would each reader choose the option they liked the least in order to maximize vitriol in the comments section? I know I would. FUUUUUUUCKK ALLLL OFFFF (read OVVVVV) YOOOUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!

    Done. Let’s get back to planning the parade.

  39. offer Oliver and Lind to Rangers for C- prospect, no money eaten. Or tell Oliver, we tried Rangers not interested and just because you want more money, then everyone wants more, thus retire or choose to take the 3 million.

  40. Trade for Bastardo!!! All name team!

  41. I really want them to tell Oliver to f*ck off but he`s been such a reliable arm in the bullpen. Question is how bad do we think we need that extra WAR?

    P.S. Suck it Farrell

    • I think if it was just about the extra on-field value, they’d have found a way to get it done by now. I’d hope so at least.

      That is, if they actually believe he’ll walk away from the $3-million– which I don’t think it’s a certainty in the slightest.

      The funny thing to me is how earlier today people were pining for this guy to choose to come back and would have lost their shit if he did, and now it’s all “oh, fuck him” because he dares make Anthopoulos ask Rogers for a less-than-one-percent budget increase to make it happen.

      • Agreed – the mouth breathing reactionary in me wants to play hardball with him but like you said many of us wanted him back a few hours ago. Pragmatism is probably warranted here – I really don’t want to have to guess what would have happened if we still had Oliver everytime someone blows the game in late innings this entire season.

        And frankly hes probably right (ignoring the whole front loaded contract thing) , $3 million for an extra win at our expected part of the win curve is probably below market, assuming we think Oliver can repeat last year’s performance.

        • 3M is more than fair compensation for a LOOGY who is rarely required to even break a sweat.
          My concern is that if he isn’t stoked to high heaven to come in and play on a team that is gunning for the belt, why let him step foot in the clubhouse.
          The Kool-Aid is for everyone Darren…why aren’t you drinking?
          No passengers in 2013, all hands on deck!

          • Oliver is NOT a LOOGY. This is a myth being perpetuated and regurgitated without check…until now. Go look at this numbers. They are fairly symmetric respective to handedness. In fact, one could argue that if the jays need someone to get out lefties, they are better off using Delabar anyway. Oliver is valuable because he is effective at getting hitters from each side of the plate out in late game situations. That is difficult to find and when you do find that, they are often made a closer..

            having said that, I dont think this team will really miss not having him with the improved starting pitching and the ample arms in the pen, assuming santos is OK

  42. I don’t like it. Negotiating tactics make total sense when you have not signed a contract. Relievers are volatile even really good ones, at some point some age that arm may not be lights out.

    • Yeah his age could become an issue at this point, his FIP, xFIP and fWAR have been slowly degrading over the past few seasons (I’m cherrypicking those stats). But in terms of sample size as a reliever his numbers look damn consistent season-to-season over the last little while considering he only throws 50-60 IP a year.

  43. 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.

  44. The most disappointing tidbit here is that the Jays may have to cut back somewhere just to keep Oliver at $3 million. I get that the Jays’ 2013 payroll will see a very substantial increase of last year, and I don’t mean to piss and moan about the cheap pricks at Rogers here, but up until now I’d been thinking that the bullpen next year would probably feature Oliver, or someone else in that same price range. If that bit is accurate, it sounds like the Jatys will have a bullpen with Janssen, Santos (if healthy) and Happ guaranteed spots, Cecil and Rogers getting a shot for being out of options, and two of Loup, Delabar and Lincoln rounding it out to start the year if Oliver doesn’t come back. That sounds OK, especially if there exists a possibility for Perez or maybe Hutchison to step in there towards the end of the year, but it would be nice to have more than three pitchers with bullpen spots nailed down heading into spring training, whether it’s Oliver or someone like Matt Lindstrom or Brandon Lyon occupying that fourth spot.

    • I dunno. I have a hard time complaining about payroll limits after what we’ve seen this offseason.

      • For sure. It is what it is, if true. I just found it a little disappointing as it seemed like that money was already budgeted for, wheter it was going to Oliver or a different reliever.

  45. Dude is one day older than dirt. If he needs an extra mil to get out of his la-z-boy then I get it. Cash out before everyone forgets you, homie.

  46. I think you have to worry about setting a precedent. Oliver was great last year, but relief is notoriously volatile. Stoeten also pointed out correctly we have several guys who are “below market”. Don’t open that door. The budget climbs too high, net year doesn’t go as well as we all want, and the bean counters tighten the purse strings again. You signed the contract, you agreed to the compensation, play, or take your ball and go home

    • I wouldn’t worry about the precedent stuff. Other players can’t pull the same thing unless the threat of them retiring is credible, which excludes 99% of players we’d give a shit about.

      • Being right won’t stop JoBau from knocking on AA’s door the minute Oliver gets his raise.

  47. He looked like he was falling off toward the end of the year, and he did the same thing in the Rangers’ playoff runs. I don’t trust him in October. Let him walk. Will JP Howell sign for $3M?

  48. Oliver wouldn’t be doing this unless he had the leverage that he might retire. It’s a shitty thing to do, but I can see why he/his agent are going this route.

    If the Jays don’t want to change his 2013 salary, maybe they could do something like offer him a 4 mil option for 2014, with a 2 mil buyout (or something). So if he retires after this year, he gets some additional money.

    • Thing is, he’d only collect the buyout if the Jays decline that option, and if he has a year anything like 2012, odds are they’d opt to bring him back for the $2 million difference, and he gets nothing for retiring then.

      • Exactly. I should have read this before I posted below. That way the club doesn’t completely cave to the player, but he gives him a shot to recoup his losses (either by pitching shittily or accepting his 2014 salary as his 2013 salary.

        I don’t think he’d o for it, no. But it makes a hell of a lot more sense than throwing bad money after good.

  49. I’d rather sign JP Howell for the same price if Oliver is semi holding out

  50. No fucking chance they should change the terms of his 2013 contract.

    Maaaybe, if they really want him back, they offer him like a $5M club option with some kind of buyout for 2014 and say, “If you want to play for TWO more years, you’ll get paid.”

  51. There is no way AA and the Beest set a precedent like this with all the other team policies they have.

  52. Also, if a team friendly contract can be renegotiated after a good year by the player, can a player friendly contract be renegotiated after a shit bomb of a year? Just asking

  53. This won’t set a precedent – only players on option years who can credibly threaten to retire could take this position. Additionally agents won’t like doing this or they will lose credibility in the future when negotiating multiyear deals for older players.

    • Suppose it is a very unique situation. Guess I’m just a hardass….a contract is a contract.

      • Yeah if it is just out of pure spite then I agree, that was my knee-jerk reaction as well. I just don’t think there’s any pragmatic reason not to pay him though, as long as we don’t have a better use of the money this season. The precedent thing is a false narrative imo

    • any player can ask for a market value raise. Leverage only applies to the likelihood that they obtain said raise. Retiring is one leverage point. Being the shoulders on which the team leans it’s weight is another.
      If you’ve ever run a business you’d know that logic doesn’t apply when it comes to dollars and sense. If Sally gets a raise, Johnny wants a raise too; all other considerations be damned.

  54. Why not offer him some $ incentives based on perfoance, etc??? It might be a good compromise if this shit is based on fact on how he truly feels about returning. This kind of “public bargaining” is out of character for AA. If Oliver had asked AA for a better contract, it would have been agreed on, or denied and that would be the end of it. If this shit was based on fact, I can’t see it coming to light until there is a resolution one way or the other

    • Not a bad idea if he’d go for it. What performance indicators though?

      And he won’t go for it. It’s all about guaranteed money these days. Just pay him a bit more and be done with it.

  55. Why not offer him 3 million plus an incentive package? Base it on whatever but that way if he doesn’t perform or gets hurt the payroll doesn’t take a hit and if he is the black magic we know and love he gets a minor raise and it’s a win win…just an idea…

  56. I’m not sure it sets a precedent (credible retirement threats only work with a few players) and I can see what the agent is doing but:

    1. The optics are bad. It makes Oliver look bad – for the sake of at most $1m. Given he signed the contract pre 2012 and the Jays committed this offseason to build a winner it does not look good to try this given the opportunity in 2013
    2. It means the 2012 contract was basically a risk free front loaded contract with a 5.5m payout if he performed badly and a 8/9m payout if he performs well and re-negotiated
    3.It will mean that offering options (in excahnge for higher salary) for old players that might retire should be considered in this context – the option is worth less if you can retire rather than be forced to play out the option and get a new contract

    • For the same reason you mention – credibility – I doubt Oliver`s agent is behind this, which makes me think more that it is not a bluff. Why would an agent endorse Oliver doing this? Oliver is done after another year, the agent has to continue working with GMs in the future. Would the commission on an extra million dollars be worth the agent’s credibility in the future with other general managers?

      • an agent’s credibility starts and ends with the names of the players he represents. Players ask for more money all the time, the agent’s job is to try and get it for them; GM opinions are worth less than a pinch of shit in such situations.

  57. If the Jays value him higher than the $3M he’s under contract for, give him more and bring him back. If they don’t, just get somebody else. I’d prefer the former as his return would help the team’s chances in 2013 (the main priority right now), but it’s not like there aren’t other good relievers left.

    Don’t see any reason to get upset at Oliver for trying to maximize his earning potential in this situation.

  58. The sympathy for Oliver here makes me sick. The Jays should have no time for players with this mentally right now. You need everyone focused on the singular goal of winning to win the World Series, rather than focusing on each of their leveraged negotiating opportunities.

    Fuck off old man.

    • I don’t see sympathy. I see an understanding that this is a business and that players are in it to maximize their earning potential over their short careers. Oliver is not unusual in this way.

      • You’re right, he isn’t. Mark is also right. No passengers on this bus, fuck off old man.

        • I’d have no problem taking him back at fair market value. He makes the team better. And making the team better means a better chance at the playoffs/WS.

          Getting upset because he’s predictably using retirement as a negotiating tactic accomplishes nothing.

          • I’m not upset. I just think that the Jays should hold the line here, Oliver can play for the Jays at 3M or he can retire. 41 year-old pitchers don’t get raises.

    • exactly, man. Tell him to get out into the fields

  59. I rarely if ever comment despite the fact that I constantly read this blog but the fucking hypocrisy of the comments is making my eyes bleed.
    Who here would not try to do better in similar circumstances in their own lives? To suggest that Oliver should only deal in the binary is pathetic. The man has every right to do what is right by him and to suggest otherwise is moral grandstanding.

    What’s the difference between 3and 4.5 mil? About 1.5 million.

    • You’re reasoning here is so flawed I don’t know where to begin.

      a) None of us individually would ever be in a similar position in our own lives.

      b) If you were in the same position and you chose to behave like Oliver is here, that shouldn’t be taken as moral justification for what he’s doing. It just means that you are just as cut throat business-wise as he is. Call him a good business man if you like, but don’t call him honourable.

      b) Oliver is a member of a union. That union has a CBA with MLB which dictates the terms and conditions of player contracts. No matter what kind of leverage arises, he is not allowed to change that. Presently, his contract says that he can play for 3 million or retire.

      c) Oliver signed the contract one year ago. This isn’t a case of a team ripping up a contract because they signed a player to a cheap 7 year deal 4 years ago and his performance has far exceeded it. In fact, I don’t even agree that Oliver outperformed his contract last year. 4 million is a great haul for a 41 year old middle reliever.

      d) When he signed that contract one year ago, he agreed to the terms. He wanted above market value in the first year to front load it and the option of retiring after one year. He was not worth 4 mil/yr after the 2011 season, but the Jays gave it to him specifically to get the second year at 3 million. If they Jays cave now, they’ll be getting totally ripped off. Oliver knew all of this last year, but agree to the contract anyway. To complain that he wants “fair market value” now is like the Jays complaining after he retires that they want 1.5 million back so they can get fair market value for last year.

      e) For those saying that an extra 1.5 million is nothing, keep in mind that is what the Jays will be paying Lawrie, Arencibia, and Loup combined. Ask those guys how they feel about this.

      f) This guy has been in the majors for 20 years. Last year he pitched 70 innings and almost made as much as David Price. An extra couple of mil shouldn’t be the difference between retiring and not retiring. He’s just trying to cash in on the money in the new TV deals before retiring.

      • winner. well said.

      • Very well put. Adding to point e) The Jays have arbitration cases with 4 players still pending where their agents will most likely be discussing differences less than what Oliver is asking for. Jays have a great history of not going to arbitration, tough to hand an under contract player another $1.5 million and then fight with Happ’s agent over a $1M.

  60. If I were AA I would tell him we signed a deal. Play or stay home for the year. Oliver can always try again next year when he’s 43. Have a nice year off Darren.

  61. Its always funny to see how quickly the tides turn on here when a few people deem one perspective rational while the opposite perspective gains “mouth-breather” status. As though there wasn’t an entirely reasonable rationale for the flaw in Oliver’s agent’s tactic.

    Its been said many times above, but his contract didn’t happen in a vacuum. Toronto was the highest bidder in 2011 – paying the maximum of what the market would bear for his services. The fact that this is POTENTIALLY not the case now is irrelevant. The fact is, he benefited from this specific contract in 2012, making more than he would anywhere else. The entire purpose of signing a contract is to lock both parties into an agreement that they can live with. Getting 2 years rather than 1 was seen as a very generous offer last off season – so if we’re going to be honest about the situation on both sides, lets not only view this through the limited perspective of a player who could possibly make more on the open market.

  62. Maybe we should just take his words at face value…. not read into it as a negotiation tactic. I don’t think he necessarily is asking to open up his contract, but instead truly contemplating retirement vs. what he will get paid…. and since it’s below market value, it’s not a great incentive.

    • Good point. I think it was the term “below market value” which turned the conversation towards negotiation and his Agent. I doubt highly that those types of concerns came from Oliver. He probably is leaning towards retirement because the financial incentive isn’t there. No Harm, no foul. But the idea that somehow the Jays should fix this begs the question of why in this specific case – and no others within the org.

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