I understand that perspectives can get a bit warped when we’re talking about guys already making annual salaries higher than what the vast majority of us could ever expect to earn in a lifetime, but that really doesn’t make it any less jaw-dropping to, over the past few days, have witnessed in the minds of so many the complete absence of anything but an entirely one-sided understanding of the worker-ownership dynamic when it comes to the contract situation Darren Oliver and his agent Jeff Frye have landed themselves in.

I know we’ve been through this enough already, but seriously…

Telling your employer that you need a raise or you’re going to have to go do something else is offensive? Realizing midway through a contract that you’re a whole lot more valuable to your bosses than you were when you signed and exerting leverage to see if you can’t get something closer to fair compensation is greed-headedness on the level of extortion?

Darren Oliver’s name gets dragged through the mud for daring to ask if Rogers can’t pay him more in line with what his obviously very valuable services are worth? Because Rogers doesn’t deserve to be put in the position of, and on principle shouldn’t even consider, caving to this “arrogant” attempt to push them around? Rogers?!? Who for years used magic accounting to run low payrolls while subsidizing their sports network with cheap content, who operate their baseball club under the sweetheart CBA deal that heavily suppresses the salaries of young players, and who not long ago conveniently put the club’s games onto a channel nobody could watch in order to force cable providers into picking up a wholly superfluous channel called Sportsnet One? Who get applauded when they sign players to hopelessly team-friendly deals and below-market contract extensions? They’re the ones above all this, who deserve to pocket the difference between what Oliver signed for and what the market might pay him? Your sympathies lie in their pockets and Oliver is full of nothing but greed for giving them an ultimatum? For “threatening” to retire, kinda exactly like we thought he was going to in the first place?


It’s a hell of a trick the business world has pulled– damn fat cats!– in getting people to not just feel this way, but to positively seethe at a guy like Oliver, and I can’t quite comprehend why they do.

Alex Anthopoulos feeling this way, on the other hand, I totally get. And apparently he does too.

Jeff Frye– who knows a thing or two about cycles– may have won the news cycle on Thursday and Friday when his client’s ultimatum went public, but judging by comments from Anthopoulos in a piece by Chris Toman of BlueJays.com, Kelly Gruber isn’t going to come down out of the stands wearing acid-washed jeans to congratulate him on winning the next one.

Anthopoulos, who was not aware that Frye had gone public with those comments, was visibly surprised when it was brought to his attention and was not keen on the idea of meeting Oliver’s demands.

“I don’t want to really get into the trade talk; things can happen,” Anthopoulos said. “As far as restructuring his contract, I would never say never, but his contract is his contract. That’s what we signed him to.

“I don’t see us doing that.”

Earlier in the piece he also adds:

“I do not,” Anthopoulos said when asked if he expected Oliver to be a member of the 2013 Blue Jays. “When we signed him we knew there was a strong possibility that he would only play with us for one year. And toward the end of the year, he hinted many times that retiring was an option he was strongly considering.”

Now, for all that I said above about Oliver’s right to try and get more money out of the club, I can’t blame Anthopoulos at all for feeling this way– and I certainly can’t blame him for not telling the media that he’d actually consider engaging in a negotiation under Oliver’s conditions.

One thing that’s interesting, though, is the fact that Anthopoulos acknowledges that the club knew all along that Oliver might retire– which eliminates, in my view, a lot of these notions that Oliver had negotiated in bad faith.

In fact, perhaps the Jays saw this coming all along, and figured the $3-million option was something Oliver was going to have a lot harder a time walking away from than he’s been letting on– something I said right from the get-go. I mean, if his objective is to extract as much money out of his baseball career as possible, $3-million looks a whole lot better than nothing.

And shit, despite his age, it’s not like he’s looked on the verge of completely falling apart, either. Could there be another contract still in the cards for him in 2014 at age 43? Very possibly.

Of course, that would mean, unless it’s a deal with Texas, he wouldn’t get to stay home with his kids. And we all know how importan– oh… right.

And yeah, that aspect of this whole public saga remains pretty off-putting. But like so much else about it, I think we’re best to view that as a tactic– perhaps even one borne honestly– towards a not-wholly-unreasonable goal, and one that truly changes almost nothing about the Jays’ off-season.

Oliver was either going to play here for $3-million next year or he wasn’t. Most of us probably felt it was going to be the latter, and that’s still entirely the case. But now the club actually has a chance to ensure he comes back, and all it’s going to take is a little bit more money. In an (admittedly warped) way, it’s somewhat of a good thing, and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m wary of the club getting too hung up the principle or the money of it– though, again, I’m all for them being full-on willing to call his bluff, too.

It’s just… it’s not like the Jays aren’t clearly better off with him, y’know?

Comments (362)

  1. Seriously, I may not be a parent, but is 6 months with your kids really worth THREE MILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!?????

    • Well, the marginal value of the 3 mil to him is obviously different than it is to you or me. Also consider that he’s probably been doing this for very likely the entire lifespan of his children. So yeah, maybe.

    • I find time with my kids to be priceless but I still go away to work, sometimes for a month at a time. The big difference is my wage/salary doesn’t allow me the option to retire at 40 whatever. If it did, I would certainly consider it unless somebody offered me a shit load more. 3 million is worth more to you and me than him….I guess.

    • @Drew,

      Has anyone done any investigation of Oliver’s kids?

      Are they special needs kids?

      Do they have issues? Drugs? Alcohol?

      Scott Rolen left Toronto because of family issues to be closer to Cincinatti.

    • I am a parent. He has spent 6-7 months away from his kids each year. He is blessed, so no it is not worth it.

    • It may just be. How much did that Canadian guy turn down from the Raptors to play for the Lakers? He wanted to be closer to his kids.

  2. *Significantly more than

  3. I wonder if the MLBPA would even allow a restructure? It could possibly open a very large can of worms no?

    • not even close.

      most players don’t have the leverage that oliver has in that he is supposedly willing to retire.

      no 20 or 30 something player would be in a position to not play for a year or more in an effort to get paid more

      • Of course they do have the same leverage. Have you ever seen a player hold out in football? If anything baseball players have even more leverage than football players because they have longer careers so each year is worth less.

        If a team thought they were a legitimate world series contender, would they add an extra year or two to a 33 year old’s contract if he was integral to their playoff hopes? I think so.

        • you couldnt be more wrong.

          teams will call that bluff all day everyday, because of the precedent it sets with the rest of the players.

          You sign a contract, you play to that contract. When the vernon wells, jason bays and chone figgins of the world star giving money back, then maybe owners and gm’s will be more open to the idea.

          until then, no player with years to play is going to start sitting out because of money, especially since the majority of players that pass their first 6 years and reach free agency, become overpaid.

          • Wait, which position are you taking in this debate? I’m not positive we disagree.

            I agree that teams would never restructure a player contract in his prime because of the precedent it would set. But that’s the root of the team’s leverage – once the precedent had been set, players willing to hold out (most likely only a month or two) would have a TON of leverage if their team expected to contend.

            So I think you and I are on the same side of this one. I must’ve just misunderstood your point.

        • No, they don’t have the same leverage. A player’s leverage in this situation is derived entirely from their willingness to not collect a paycheck for the remainder of their existing contract. You’re insane if you think a 42 year old player isn’t far more likely to be content in retirement than a player in the prime of his career in the middle of a long-term deal.

          Darren Oliver is
          (a) 42 years old
          (b) still a useful player
          (c) in the middle of a multi-year contract.

          The confluence of circumstances is almost unprecedented. Most 42 year olds play themselves out of the league through deteriorating skill such that no team wants anything to do with them and/or are only handed one-year contracts.

        • Football contracts aren’t guaranteed though right? I know signing bonus’ are, but, the rest is not iirc. If so that makes a huge difference.

          • You are correct on both counts. Football players hold out because at any time the team they signed with can cut them and only owe the guaranteed dollars, which tends to be about 35-45% of the “paper” value of the contract. Baseball contracts function differently

          • Why does that make any difference in leverage from the players’ side though? Understandably it makes them less likely to hold out, but why does having a guaranteed contract put teams in a stronger bargaining position?

  4. I’m actually really shocked that you took this perspective on the issue.

    1 million or 2 more on a 3 million dollar salary shouldn’t make the difference between retiring or not. If he still can and wants to play he should for his salary.

    if he wants to be with his family or at the very least be close to his family for 81 games of the year, then no amount of money (within reason) should change that feeling.

    I’m not upset or going to put Darren down, but I’d gladly accept AA letting him know he can retire, we save the 3 million plus the 500k buy out, and texas doesn’t improve.

  5. Nice job Stoeten telling a clearer, level headed picture of what the situation is. I agree 100% that it’s unfair that Oliver’s name is being dragged through the mud here. Happens all too often in pro sports where the players are constantly praised and then at the same time blamed for this type of stuff because they are front and centre. Kind of reminds me of the Vince Carter fallout with the Raptors (on a much smaller stage, of course). He became the villain, but we don’t know what part MLSE played in the fallout, we just assume the employee betrayed the fans, and he was the one to blame.

    On a side note, doesn’t Rogers own thescore now, making you an employee of the evil empire as well? Planning any tactics yourself?

    • Rogers only owns The Score TV. The web properties are on their own.

    • As someone who watched Vince Carter play in his last year I have to assume that either you did not or you’re being intentionally dense. Either way there is absolutely no kernel of truth in the jackass opinion you’ve provided. Vince played intentionally poorly to force the team to trade him, in the middle of his career and with no effort to stop collecting his huge paychecks. Darren Oliver doesn’t feel like $3 million is worth spending a summer away from his kids and home. At least read an article or look at Vince’s statlines from that year before you spew idiocy like that.

      And Rogers owns The Score tv station but online is still independent, which makes you 0 for your entire dumbass comment. Thanks for coming.

      • Oh Ray, you seem like you’re still bitter at Vince. Sometimes you have to just let go, it’s good for the soul.

        I mean, does anyone know the entire Vince Carter story? All we saw was the sudden poor play on court, and his desire to be traded. Of course as fans in the moment we felt betrayed and we hated him for it. He was our beloved hero megasuperstar basketball player that the entire basketball world was watching, and suddenly he didn’t give a shit. But do we really truly know what got him to that point? I have to suspect there was something that went horribly wrong behind the scenes that made him feel that way. Maybe a broken promise or something deep enough to make an otherwise sane person go to such an extreme measure. Was he within his rights to go so far as to quit playing hard? Maybe not, but how the fuck do we really know? Nobody does, except VC, and Raptors management. Don’t assume you know the entire story. Sometimes the employee is fighting the same battle you would fight if you were in his situation. It’s a two way street. And in the Oliver situation, we don’t know what is really driving him to say he wants more cash, many just assume its greed. Maybe he just wants fair market value, and is taking the opportunity to ask for it now considering the circumstances. Yeah he has a contract, but he also has the option of retirement. thats his leverage, thats his right. At $3M, he’s indifferent on playing another season. Just try not to simply assume you know the entire picture and pass judgement, when clearly you don’t.

        • The worst kind of dumbass is the one who says that “you don’t know every single detail of the story so you can never draw any conclusions about it ever.” Does being completely agnostic about all situations (because you can never know every detail) grate on you? Or does the medication help?

          Either way, there’s literally no reasonable comparison to be made between what Oliver is doing now and what Vince did then. Beyond the fact that they’re both athletes. And black I guess. Racist…

          • @Ray
            Oh, so that’s the worst kind of dumbass, I see. Glad you have your dumbass rankings up to date, that’s very impressive. Maybe you should put the same effort into using logical thought and having just a wee bit more of an open mind on things, that is, if you can handle it. By the sounds of it, you might need some time and help to get you through it. It can be a challenging process for those with very rigid and stubborn trains of thought.
            With that being said, I’m terribly sorry you can’t see beyond the colour of their skin and their occupations to have an intelligent conversation on the potential similarities between the two situations. I guess some people prefer ignorance, and maybe I should’ve taken a page from your book, and drawn this conclusion about you much earlier in this exchange, would’ve saved us both some time. I guess i just find it hard to prejudge, its a huge fault of mine right?

            Any help you need getting through these difficult times of forming intelligent thoughts, you just let me know. I’m here to help. Stay strong my friend.

          • Ron, Don’t judge Ray. You don’t know every detail about his situation.

        • Isn’t defending Vince Carter grounds for reinstatement of the death penalty?

    • Don’t you dare defend Vince Carter. Vince signed a 7 year extension and a year and a half into it, quit on the team. Not retired and didn’t get paid, faked injury and refused to enter games. Oliver is trying to negiotiate, Vince was stealing. Fuck Vince Carter now and forever. Toronto fans can be a little too open handed with the boo’s when a former player comes to town, but Vince deserves it from the moment he left to the day he dies. Fuck that guy

    • I think it’s perfectly fair to let his name be dragged through the mud… it was his agent presumably with his blessing that made this whole bit public. If he’d had a bit of actual class and conducted this privately then I think his name would remain mud-free. That it’s now being dragged through the mud that just him laying in the bed that he made.

  6. Stoeten

    The difference is guaranteed contracts. If Oliver wants to play in 2013 the jays owe him the money. Most of us don’t have this protection or luxury. We can be fired at anytime for cause and with reasonable notice without cause. We also have the right to ask for a raise at anytime (unless governed by a union agreement)

    You can’t compare people with defined length of term contracts against those employees who don’t. He gave up the right to renegotiate by signing a guaranteed contract. It cuts both ways. Protection and sacrifice.

    • Great point.

    • You’re not wrong that the parallels only go so far, but I’m not sure I agree that he necessarily gave up his right to renegotiate because it’s a guaranteed deal. Isn’t the club’s protection from that the fact that they don’t have to pay him if he doesn’t play? And isn’t that still the case? He’s essentially saying: I’m retired, but you hold my rights, and by the way, I’d play if you renegotiate. Now it’s up to them to decide if they want to open up that can of worms. Not saying they should, but I’m still having trouble seeing what’s so ghastly about that offer.

      • It undermines the whole concept of the contract as a binding agreement. He negotiated the option on his contract with AA in the event that he chose to continue playing.

        • Binding contracts always (almost) have provisions for amendment. If both parties agree in writing, off ya go!

      • But what you’re forgetting is that in the midst of the Jays fielding the most competitive team in a decade you’ve got a possibly important piece of said team publicly delivering an ultimatum to management that he’d prefer not to play unless he’s given a raise….not the kind of message or person I’d want in my clubhouse if I’m trying to win a championship. You’re right about Rogers having the financial wherewithall, but you could argue that about them acquiring ANYONE at this point.

        For me there’s no anger towards Oliver, but I’d just as soon toss him overboard and find someone else capable of filling his role. Team chemistry can be a fickle thing and I don’t think buying loyalty is a good strategy at this stage of the team’s remodelling efforts.

      • I never trust a non-yellow hewed Stoeten….but then again, I used to think hockey would live forever in Canada.

      • then why did he include the option?????????? just sign a 1 year deal and none of this happens

    • +1.

      That is exactly my position.

      If Oliver were a free agent & he wanted 4.5 million to play in Toronto or 3 million to play in Texas, then that’s OK.

      He can use the family argument all he wants, but I don’t think we should accomodate his wishes to play in Texas unless AA gets a solid prospect.

  7. In don’t care or give a f about oliver

  8. You can’t compare Darren Oliver to your job … its completely different. You don’t sign a contract at your job that gives you a guaranteed salary over multiple years (whether you are really good at that job or completely terrible). The professional athlete to working day stiff analogy doesn’t apply. So yes, it is offensive to me … it doesn’t have to be to you … but Fuck Darren Oliver. Fuck him with a broomstick with splinters.

    And a contract more in line with his value … last year he made $4.5 and was worth $4,8 according to Fangraphs. That’s pretty fucking spot on. And while he showed no signs of slowing down he does turn 43 this season. His FIP and xFIP have been slowly increasing, there’s no reason to think he doesn’t regress a little more this year and have a value pretty close to $3.

    Oh, and how dare Rogers and AA try and sign team friendly deals and save money. We all know when Vernon Wells and BJ Ryan were terribly overpaid with several years left on their contracts they came back to the Bluejays to renegotiate because they were paid far too much … What’s that? They didn’t?! Oh right, that’s because that’s how professional sports works. Sometimes it works to your advantage, sometimes not, but that’s how it works.

    Again you’re welcome to your opinion, just don’t tell me mine is wrong. He would likely help in 2013, but you never know with relievers and after this I just don’t want him around.

    • Love this ^

      Spot on! Better put than Steotens entire post

    • The “well these overpaid guys didn’t pay back anything” argument is, literally, the dumbest. Especially because I’m not saying “how dare they sign guys to team friendly deals?” I’m saying that if we applaud the team for maximizing their leverage in deals and then vilify players for trying to maximize theirs when we find it inconvenient, we’re kinda being twats.

      • not really, if darren oliver was a free agent and said i’ll only goto toronto for more money, then that would be fine.

        problem is he’s not a free agent. he can’t sign wherever gives him the biggest pay day. he agreed to an option.

      • Stoeten

        Saying people are Villifying Oliver over this in comparison to Rogers signing team friendly deals does not go hand in hand. No one gives free agents a hard time for maximizing what they can get, which is their time to use leverage. This to me is not the same as Oliver is under contract.

        I dont see how a player under contract should have leverage to breach a signed agreement. Even if he is facing retirement. Its wrong to me

        • @Chanse .

          Agreed This isn’t a free agent issue.It’s a signed contract.
          Oliver knew what the terms of the deal were.

      • @Andrew.

        No is not a dumb argument because the MLB forces the contracts to be guaranteed.

        Lind took a risk a few years signing a long term contract & he fell apart after 2010.

        If Lind were a free agent, he wouldn’t get 7 million in 2013.

        • I can’t get behind he criticism of a guy trying to get more dollars when these guys play in a system where a) they don’t get to chose their employer when they enter the labour force, and b) they have their salaries restricted during their most productive/valuable years, that being the first 6 of service time. Who would accept not chosing where to work, and not being able to leave for 6 years, with no levearge to negotiate for that enter period? Get every thing you can black magic

          • @gwheels

            He did get everything he could get.

            In the last fuckin contract he signed!

            Now he can play that out or retire.

          • @gwheels.

            I think most of us would be very happy to work for an employer who had a minimum yearly salary of 500K plus travel & benefits.

            Baseball players have longer careers than NFL players whose contracts aren’t always guaranteed.

            The signing bonuses alone make some players millionaires before they are old enough to drink.

      • I’m not arguing they should have paid something back. What I’m saying is its a 2 way street, both the player and the team take a risk when they sign a multi-year contract and they have to accept that.

        Or as a player just sign one year contracts, guaranteeing they will always have a chance to maximize their leverage and be paid what’s “fair”. But you don’t see many do that, and Darren Oliver didn’t do that, so now what’s fair is he plays for the deal he signed or retire.

    • @Ike.

      Very well said.

      No way AA reopens a contract for Oliver after his agent went public with his demands.

      Now maybe AA could have offered him a “Consulting Contract” after 2013 if he came back, but I don’t see any other way to get around this.

      It’s not about Rogers being cheap. It’s about contract law.

    • I agree with your points and echo my feelings on the matter. Wish darren the best but it’s time for him to go out in the fields. +2

  9. If Oliver was all about the money, why would he be willing to end his career and retire right now, collecting $0 in 2013? The only things within his complete control right now are collecting $3 million as a member of the Jays or $0 as a retired player. It’d be a pretty dumb move for him if this was driven entirely by dollar signs in his eyes.

    It’d be sheer incompetence if not gross negligence for the Jays not to realize that there was a good chance of retirement after 2012 with Oliver. Of course they knew there was a good chance he wasn’t going to play out 2013 with the Jays.

  10. I believe the leverage is with the Jays. He might be worth $5 million but he could be leaving $3 million on the table. When spring training rolls around and Oliver’s only option is the Jays, the $3 million will look alot better.

    • You’re assuming that he’s dead set on playing in 2013. All indications are that retirement is a completely palatable option for Oliver.

      • I just think Oliver is using the perceived leverage he has to renegotiate for more money. If he really does want to retire then he wouldn’t have made the comments.
        He’s a great left handed set up man, but I would be willing to roll the dice with Cecil or Loup if Oliver wants to retire.

        • seriously? Cecil or Loup in crucial situations for a team with a legitimate shot at the playoffs/in the playoffs?

          Perhaps AA did think he was gonna retire – but no one, not even AA, could’ve imagined this type of off-season last year.

          And perhaps Oliver was intent on retiring. Then the team altering changes made by AA.

          imo, he wants to come back, but not at $3m. Jays need him, but not for any price.

          Meet somewhere in the middle & let’s move on.

  11. Trade to Texas.

    Jays are already at their salary limit and AA pretty much said he ain’t getting paid any more so it’s trade or retire.

    Tempting to say fuck him and let him retire but it’s better to get something back if possible.

    Sierra or Cooper type as filler to get something decent or maybe Gose for something good.

    • but then you improve a team that you could end up competing with for a wild card. or facing in the playoffs.

      you aren’t going to get anything of value, since you can’t shop him, so why would texas give up anything good. better off letting him retire. its not spite, it is what it is

      • You could very well be right but I’m not sure one reliever is that big of a difference. And that’s only “if” the Jays could get something decent from Texas, even if they have to sweeten the offer a little. Otherwise, ya, fuck him, let him retire.

    • This is the least palatable option.

  12. Players dont get paid what their worth; they get paid what they signed for.

    (minus incentives)

  13. The main thing that I have a problem with about holding out for more money after signing a guaranteed contract is that had he sucked last year, the Jays couldnt ask for some of the money back. Sometimes you, in hind sight, had an overvalued contract and sometimes its an undervalued one. Thats the risk both sides take. Had he absolutely sucked last year, but said he was coming back to pick up the 3 million, the Jays couldnt say, “sorry, we are renegotiating it back down to 1.5 million or you cant play.”

    The jays, by taking the risk on him last year have earned the right to ‘underpay’ him this year. The risk the Jays took paid off, thats life Oliver.

    • It was a club option. If he sucked last year, the Jays wouldn’t have picked up his option and he likely would have retired into the sunset. Having the option picked up was a result of his solid play. Any other MLB player absolutely could pull the same thing as Oliver on an option year if they wanted to. It would be insanity because they’d have to forego pay in their option year and basically destroys their value on their next contract, if they were to stick to their guns and refuse to play out their deal.

  14. Sorry, but Oliver negotiated in bad faith. Whether he and AA both knew that it was likely Oliver was going to retire in 2013, AA took a flyer on him changing his mind and Oliver signed on the dotted line. Again, this is only a year ago. Muddying the waters with how much Oliver has already made in his career or how much money Rogers is worth is also irrelevant. This is about a contract he signed and is now trying to change midstream.

    I think he’s a good pitcher. I think it is his right to try to make money and take care of his family. That said, you won’t catch me trying to reopen a contract 1 year after I signed it because now I don’t like the terms. He has lawyers and agents to tell him the consequences of the deal. It’s not like he was hoodwinked.

    • He’s not a slave, he doesn’t have to play at all if he doesn’t want to. It’s as simple as that.

      • I’ve never said he has to play. I’ve said he has two choices: play according to the contract he signed or retire. He wasn’t tricked into signing his contract. I’m pretty sure he employs a lawyer, or two, and an agent.

        This isn’t about poor Oliver or poor Rogers. A contract is a contract.

        • And when drafting contracts we lawyers usually like to insert clauses that allow for amendments subject to agreement of the two parties. Pretty standard stuff.

          • And those clauses require mutual agreement to reopen the contract, which AA is not obliged to do and he can reasonably expect Oliver to honour the original contract.

  15. People who had up until 48 hours ago long assumed that Oliver was headed to retirement this offseason suddenly can’t wrap their heads around the idea that Oliver may prefer retirement and needs $$$ to be talked out of it and are also under the illusion that Oliver is entirely committed to playing in 2013.

    • I was in the camp that thought Oliver was long gone. I understand that he wants to sweeten the pot to come out of retirement, but the fact is he had already negotiated a contract for 2013 if he decided to continue playing. Tough shit.

  16. Acknowledging the fact Oliver has every right to do what hes doing is one thing. But that dont make it right.

    Which is why he will be golfing all fuckin year!

  17. Every player has the option to refuse to play under their contract (they’re not slaves) but MLB has decided this means they can’t play for any other MLB organization for as long as they are under said contract. When a player is near retirement (i.e. they don’t care if they continue playing or not) this leverage to walk away becomes credible because they’re at the point in their career where they’d be ok with walking away from the game. Players have every right to use this leverage in negotiations to maximize their earnings.

    It’s just…. when a player does this they can’t help but come across as greedy because they are treating baseball (baseball!) like a job (which of course it is) when pretty much everybody on the outside would rather be a professional baseball player than a professional whatever-they-are so fans take it personally. It’s like when an actor demands more money to make a sequel because of how well the first two movies in a series did at the box office, nobody would side with movie producers in this argument except that the actor is threatening the continuation [insert-name-of-beloved-movie-series-here], they’re threatening the very thing the fan is a fan of.

    Jays fans are going to be offended by Oliver’s request but only if they take it personally. Oliver isn’t doing anything wrong and he’s not going to play for anyone else unless the Jays say so. Oliver wants to get paid more or he’s going to stay home and that is his right.

  18. Hopefully something drastic or cool happens soon in Jays news so we can get off this Olivergate speel.

    -Anthony Alford finds Jesus and new love for baseball
    -Ray Lewis hired on as motivational speaker
    -Paulina Gretzky to sing anthem at all home games

    See ya Oliver

  19. It IS NOT about the money, and whether Rogers should pony up more… what it IS about is a player honouring an agreement he felt was adequate, and willingly signed just over a year ago.
    If AA and the Jays were to tear up the current deal and give Oliver a better deal, what would Bautista and Encarnacion (in particular) be worth, and what kind of precedent would it set for them to follow, as they are both currently on long-term deals far below their so-called market value.
    Unless AA can pry a healthy lefty reliever with stats equal to Oliver out of the Texas Rangers he will either play for Toronto or spend a lot of quality time with his family.
    It is ridiculous to even think that AA would consider upping the salary of a 42 year-old situational lefty reliever this year under the so-called threat of his retirement.
    Adding another year to the contract at a significant raise with the club holding the option might be a consideration.

  20. Stoeten I did a little research in and around the Farrell events in October.

    This is what you said right after Farrell left in a piece about how The Sun was trolling in the Buffery piece about Farrell being an asshole:

    “There is nothing to suggest there was any extenuating circumstance but one in which Farrell would have felt he needed to explore leaving the job he’d set out to do with the Jays. It’s near impossible to envision him not being entirely genuine in his commitment from the start, or worried about all of his connections in Massholia and former heir-apparent status in Boston, given that the Red Sox in 2011 looked like a powerhouse– and played like it for five months– and Terry Francona looked certain to be their manager for as long as he wanted.
    Farrell didn’t “drop a bombshell” by turning around a year into the deal saying he’d like to move to Boston “if the possibility came up,” because by then the possibility had already arisen. Shit, Farrell even soldiered on with the Jays through 2012, having watched this “dream job” of his go to Bobby Valentine– not a manager lacking in esteem at the time, who we now see was obviously the wrong choice, but who very easily could have taken the ball and run with it.
    Say what you will about the choice that Anthopoulos and Beeston made not to let him go– and I don’t think it’s unfair to wonder if seeing the possibility of the opportunity arise again late this summer impacted Farrell’s ability to do the job here (or if you really want to get conspiratorial, saw him start to intentionally neglect his duties)– but I have a hard time skewering him for not wanting to see this job pass him over for a second time. Especially since he’s looking at one lame duck year remaining on his Jays deal, compared to multiple, better-paid, guaranteed years in Boston.
    Forgive me, but I guess I’m just not as loyal as Steve fucking Buffery, who I’m sure would stick it out in the trenches with the Toronto Sun if, say, ESPN came a-calling– after all, they gave him his big break!
    I know a lot of people want to be really fucking angry about this situation, and give themselves away to the catharsis of self loathing, pissing and moaning about how small time the Jays supposedly look, and how they must therefore look by extension. And I understand that the Sun, and the talk radio hosts, and– as Drew said the other day– the tourist columnists want to tap into the power of that loathing, and wring from it all that they possibly can. But none of that is an excuse to cease being basically fucking reasonable.”

    And you seem to be taking a similar stance with Oliver’s behaviour now. You think what he is doing is completely reasonable as you appear to have believed Farrell’s behaviour was ok. However you have since changed your mind a little about Farrell, I believe. In that I haven’t heard too much complimentary comments coming from you on the rare occasions that you mention him.

    What Oliver is doing now is not dissimilar. He wants to play for another club. However, unlike Farrell, he did a good job last year and believes that Toronto will pay a premium for his services. Oliver might be a nice piece to have in the bullpen. But the precedent he sets would be a millstone for years. I hope AA does not pick up his option. I wish him a very happy retirement with his children. And Rogers-who I accused for years of being cheap bastards running the team into the ground–have turned around and made me look like an idiot. They really did open the vault this off-season. But even though they can afford to pay Oliver, I don’t think they should do it and I hope they won’t.

    • @Isabella

      Very well said.

      Farrell probably felt that Toronto was going nowhere in 2013 & he didn’t want to waste another year in a “payroll parameters ” team, so he jumped ship back to the red sox where he felt more comfortable.

      If Farrell had known what AA was planning this offseason, I think he would have stayed here, & hoped to get a contract extension if the team played well in 2013..

    • His option has already been picked up. The deadline on options passed a while back. He’s contractually tied to Toronto until next off-season barring trade, termination of contract, or otherwise.

  21. Fuck em, just decide to play or go home bum.

  22. The more I think about it the more I think Oliver can eat shit. If he wants to pull a stunt like this then they should call his bluff and let his sorry ass retire. The Jays have made enough upgrades to the rotation/bullpen/lineup already that his services over 50ip aren’t really needed anyway. I say let him rot.

  23. He’s a really good bullpen arm….I expect decent numbers from him (although at his age he can fall right off the table at any time). If this was last year i’d say keep him but really I don’t think he’s needed any longer. Maybe trade him to texas if you can get way above olivers value (which I doubt). But if he wants to pull this type of thing when he has a legit shot at pitching in the playoffs then screw him. He was worth 1.9 brefWAR last year and that doesn’t grow on trees from a reliever but really they should have no problem at all replacing that (and more) with all the upgrades they have made. I mean at $3 million he’s getting way closer to his market value than guys like Bautista/E5/Dickey are so at the end of the day screw Oliver. Brett Cecil should be just fine out of the pen as your lefty matchup guy and if he isn’t big deal….those guys are a dime a dozen. The $4 million + that Oliver wants can be better spent elsewhere i.e. a trade deadline acquisition if they are in the playoff hunt, someone to replace that waste of space known as Ricky Romero at the back end of the rotation, etc.

    • Hmmm…. Ricky gets moved to the bullpen as a lights out LOOGY. Stranger things have happened.

      • I dont think teams like the Rays even care about the lefty lefty matchups with Romero because he wasnt that great against them. Ricky will be back as a force on the rotation this year. (fingers crossed)

        • That was me trolling there. I like RR to bounce back this year in a significant way. I would much rather have RR as a starter.

          I still can’t believe that Oliver is our only viable LOOGY option. Sure he was good in 2012, but there is no way he is irreplaceable.

  24. Unless of course you can trade Romero and get a team to take his entire contract………..LOL!!!

  25. Here’s how I see this situation unfolded… Completely speculating, just trying to be realistic…

    1) Oliver signed with the Jays last offseason thinking 2012 would likely be his final year. Much like AA is known to do, he added the team option knowing full well that Oliver would likely retire. Maybe this was AA’s way of saying if you’re going to retire, let’s get that in writing, so if you do change your mind you can’t pitch elsewhere.
    2) Oliver moved closer to wanting to retire as the season progressed. He was open about it and held no secret plan. He talked to his family, and they all said that they miss daddy.
    3) 2012 season ends, and the reality of the offseason hits, and as he spends more time with the family, he thinks maybe he needs more balance in life. Since he’s still a really good pitcher, why not one more kick at the can… in Texas, so he can still come home after the games at Arlington Stadium. Best of both worlds right? Just need to try and see if AA can work some kind of magic and trade him.
    4) AA is not going to bite and be forced into another trade a player to his dream job scenario situation. AA says sorry Darren, play out your option or retire, thats all I can do for you. So, Oliver is in a bit of a conundrum. He doesn’t really want to return to Toronto to play, he’d rather just stay retired if thats the only option. But now there’s more of an itch to play, so… what’s the universal equalizer for everyone? More money. That will help him justify it to the wife and kids right? That will at least give him piece of mind that he’s at least coming back to that far away land at his market rate. Not about greed, about piece of mind. He kind of wants his cake ans eat it too. I’m not defending it, but I’m also not saying throw him to the curb for it, simply because, well, the guy is pretty valuable to our team.
    5) AA calls his bluff, and says no. You want to play, you play for the contract we gave you. Otherwise, happy retirement pal. But AA also is careful enough to say “never say never” in his answer, which leaves the door just a little open in case AA feels like there are no other options. Heck, what if Santos suffers a setback? What if Loup has an awful spring? Regardless, are we really relying on a second year young man as our go to lefty? AA is leveraging time and the option which keeps DO handcuffed, and DO is leveraging the threat of retirement. I think this thing is far from over.

    • Ron,

      I’d put your 3 as 3A and here’s my 3B possibility:

      Oliver was intent on retiring but with the changes AA made to team, a team with a legitimate shot at the playoffs and more, he wants to come back & the jays want him back (notions of Cecil/Loup in crucial situations is great for a re-build team but likely not the 1st option for this team) but Oliver won’t come back out of retirement for $3m,

  26. Cheer up all, remember back on October 25th when we sadly sang “Goodbye Yellow Beck Road”, now that frown is upside down. The Chadster is back to stay:


  27. It is somewhat surprising to me the number of people who are saying that the Blue Jays should just call his bluff and let him retire.

    The Blue Jays have a really good chance at making the playoffs this year, and maybe even winning the World Series. Having Oliver in the bullpen as a lights-out LOOGY only helps the team in that goal.

    Serious question: it is the last game of the season. It is a must win game for the Blue Jays. The Jays are up by one run in the eighth inning. A tough left-handed hitter is coming to the plate. Who do you want coming out of the bullpen to face that hitter: Oliver or Brett fucking Cecil? Cecil might very well turn out to be a fine relief pitcher, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would want Oliver in that situation, particularly if the extra cost to the team of having Oliver versus not having him is only in the range of $1.5m.

    Standing by your principles to not renogotiate signed contracts is fine in the abstract, but the goal this season is to win, not to lose on a principled basis and certainly not to save Rogers $1.5M.

    • There are no guarantees that a 43 year old Oliver is effective at the end of September. Ask Texas how that worked out for them a couple of years ago.

      • Getting a little bitchy about the “There are no guarantees” quote. Baseball is like life as there is not one fucking guarantee, even with a contract.

      • +1.

        He wasn’t lights out in the playoffs.

        Aren’t the odds of him performing less well higher next year anyway?

        Who can the Jays get for 3-4 million as a quality late inning relief pitcher?

        • Pedro Feliciano – hasn’t pitched since 2010, rotator cuff issues. Likely done.
          J.P. Howell – going to the Dodgers, just need to make it official.
          Will Ohman – released with an ERA of 6.41 last July. Likely done.
          Manny Parra – fucking sucks.
          Rafael Perez – listed as a free agent by MLBTR, but Indians have his rights? Not sure. Also underwent shoulder surgery during offseason.
          J.C. Romero – his name makes him sound like a perfect fit in Toronto, but one small problem. He fucking sucks.

          • Case closed. Cancel the parade.

          • @Ron.

            That doesn’t sound appealing.

            I suppose we will have to wait till spring training & see who shows up & gets a spot in the bulpen.

          • Having Happ move to the bullpen to join Loup and Cecil with Perez coming back mid-season and should be enough to cover Oliver’s innings.

        • and who could the Jays get at 3-4 million in July? Does anyone really think that 50 some odd innings from a 42 year old will make or break this team?
          With Santos coming back, there is (presumably) even less need for Oliver. Combined with the improved rotation, Oliver importance is questionable enough that his retirement might be more beneficial than him sticking around.

    • +1

      What I’ve been saying all along. Put your principals aside for 2013, win at all costs.

      Fuck, Melky Cabrera plays for us now. Ethics are no longer a high priority. Winning is.

      • You would think that Darren Oliver is the only LOOGY on the planet. He ain’t. There are other fine LOOGY’s out there that can be had, should the need arise.

        I prefer AA taking the high road here and saying to Oliver that he is welcome to return as per his original deal. Otherwise, he can fuck right off.

    • aslong as you completely overlook the fact that brett cecil was better vs lefties in 2012 than darren oliver.

      and that you can’t reallocate the 3 million dollars elsewhere.

    • you just contradicted yourself. if the jays were 1 game out then they weren’t that good were they? I reliever does not make or break the season especially when he’s not even a closer or set up man

    • +1

      This isn’t about what could happen if you put Cecil, Loup, Oliver or whatever other lefty in the game in crucial situations for the 2013 season.

      The question is – who would you rather have out there in those situations?

      Where I’m standing today, it is Oliver, hands down. Short of a better option right now, it’s Oliver.

  28. In summary: Oliver is within his rights to try to extract extra cash from Rogers-but in so doing has basically burned this bridge with the fans. AA cannot capitulate to his demands(he is a man of principles) nor can he trade him to Texas(potential wildcard rival), so he either retires(which is what AA pretty much expected) or he backs off his demands and plays for his original contract(and hopefully we can all forgive and forget).

    • @Dave.

      Oliver should have kept quiet & asked for a trade quietly. If no trade, he can retire or say he settled hi family issues & joins the Jays in late spring training.

  29. Holy fuck am I tired of hearing about Darren Oliver….

  30. I think this has been made into a bigger story than it is.

    If Oliver retires, he wins because he gets to be with his family; The Jays also win because it saves them $3M. If gets more money, he wins because, well, he gets more money; The Jays also win because they retain an elite lefty. If he accepts the $3M he signed on for, he loses because of this entire situation; The Jays win for obvious reasons.

    It’s a no lose situation for the team in my eyes, and you can’t really fault Oliver for realizing his unique position.

    • I still don’t see how a player won’t retire for an extra million or 2.

      most players struggle to retire.

      • Maybe banking a career $43M+ and being 42 is enough reason to want to retire for some. I honestly don’t have a clue, but an extra $2M seems like a drop in the bucket from where I sit.

        • like if he was a free agent and it was texas for 3 million or toronto for 5, then he has a dilemma

          but if its retire or 3 million or retire or 4.5 million, it really shouldnt influence his decision

    • Of course it has been made a bigger story than it is as there is nothing else to talk about except for the fear that is developing regarding some dumb fucks fear of the jays succeeding!

      Go Jays!

  31. from previous thread:

    “Yes, but their bosses– in this case Rogers– are much, much richer. So your sympathies are with them? They’re making all kinds of money off the team, and if Oliver thinks his fair share of that is more than what he’s set to be paid, why the fuck is there anything wrong with him trying to get more?”

    My issue is that I’m tired of ridiculously rich people holding out for more money. What Oliver thinks is his fair share should be determined by the contract he was willing to sign. He thought that money was fair enough at the time didn’t he? How many other teams put together a better offer? Probably none. Dickey, who has made a fraction of what Oliver has, never complained that he won a cy young while making the same amount as Mark Teahen or whatever. If he was a free agent, sure wheel and deal for the best contract you want, or if negotiating an extension, sure do what you want, but saying “pay me more or trade me to my preferred destination” is just damn childish. So in this circumstance, yes I think there is something wrong with him trying to get more. I think it would’ve been 100% reasonable for him to say either I’m traded to Texas or I’m done, but asking for money, after he signed the damn contract is greedy and even a bit of a backhand to the Jays.

    • oh and for the Rogers part. No, of course I would not shed tears if Rogers lost a million bucks. I am not “siding” with Rogers. I don’t care one bit about a billionaire vs. millionaire dispute. The position that I’m coming from is:

      a) AA cannot just bend to every demand (and every other GM probably agrees). especially after Farrellgate. It is his job to manage salaries and it is unfair for every other “underpaid” athlete to not get their demands as well. Dickey deserves a fuckload more than the $5 Million he’s making in 2013, regardless of the entirely fair market value extension he signed. Jose also deserves more, as does Lawrie. What about Janssen? He has a great contract for his ability. Sure these aren’t precisely the same contexts (Oliver is using his leverage) but it simply isn’t fair to renegotiate a contract option because of his ability.

      b) if Oliver wants to be a Jay he should honor his contract. it stinks of hardly caring about the team, if he will only do it for a raise. (but will play in his prefered destination without said raise). so too bad so sad if Oliver isn’t willing to play in Toronto because he thinks he’s underpaid.

  32. I think, by going public, Oliver made it very difficult for AA to acquiesce. If he was looking for a discrete resigning bonus, he might have been able to get one if he kept it quiet. Now, for Oliver to stay, one of them has to eat crow in public. In my view, it’s potentially more costly for AA to back down, since he can’t set a precedent that he’ll be pushed around by player’s demands. A quiet discussion would have been the better way about going about this.

    • @Hentgen.

      agreed. I am sure AA could have worked out a Consulting/coaching deal with Oliver after 1 more year at 3 million.

      Oliver could stay in Dunedin if he wanted as a coach in 2014.

    • not sure if AA would’ve been able to renegotiate a new contract privately & then make it public – perhaps AA could’ve agreed to a $4-$5m dealer or whatever and said the increase was to coax Oliver out of retirement & away from his family. Not sure how that would’ve went over with the fans, especially those adhering to the ‘principled approach’ & maintaining Oliver must stick to $3m or nothing.

  33. I think agents manipulate players much more than we realize. After all, they make a cut of the salaries that the negotiate. So they set the bar high, and put it into terms that make the player feel foolish should he accept any less than market value. Theyll say “look at player x and y who make more than you with equal or lesser stats. How can you be so foolish to accept less than them? The team is keeping x millions of dollars that is rightfully yours.” Then the player holds out on that principal or plays hardball with ownership, and the fans call him greedy, only seeing what’s going on on the surface.

    Now, I’m not saying that’s what Frye is doing here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had something to do with what’s going on in DO’s head throughout this whole ordeal.

  34. Stoeten in wonderland. Thank God your not the manager loser.

  35. He should just shut up and be grateful he can still earn that kind of money.

  36. And one more thing:
    “Telling your employer that you need a raise or you’re going to have to go do something else is offensive? Realizing midway through a contract that you’re a whole lot more valuable to your bosses than you were when you signed and exerting leverage to see if you can’t get something closer to fair compensation is greed-headedness on the level of extortion?”

    If you are an employee who has not signed a contract you may approach your employer at any time for a raise. If you are a contracted worker who has signed a contract, then I suspect you have no right to ask for a raise and your employer can tell you to go back to work or be sued for breach of contract. It really doesn’t matter how much more valuable you estimate your services to be. A contract has been signed and no one held a gun to your head to sign it. It’s a bit like selling your house on a long closing. In between you selling the house and the deal closing there is a boom and your house is now worth $100k more than you sold it for. Do you have the right to ask the buyers for more money? You do not. That would be an unreasonable request which they would turn down.

    • Except that Oliver has the ability to retire at any time.

      The contract isn’t a legally binding document that forces him to work if he chooses to retire.

      • Still riding that horse eh Jays2010….keep on keepin on I guess.
        A 5 foot fall is still a 5 foot fall.

      • We aren’t arguing about whether he has the right to retire. That is part of the original contract.

        • But you are arguing about Oliver’s ability to retire.

          He is giving the Jays the opportunity to either buy him out of retirement or move him to his home town team and turn him into an asset.

          It’s perfectly reasonable that AA won’t give him an extra penny. But there is nothing wrong with Oliver providing AA two scenarios to turn him into an asset.

  37. Oliver isn’t even worth what he already makes, and he wants more? Fucking guy is crazy lol…. 43yrs?? I’m speechless

  38. Exceptional article Stoeten.

    One thing I think fans completely ignore while whining about these so called “greedy athletes” is the number of players who are massively underpaid.

    Giancarlo Stanton is a perfect example. Between his signing bonus and MLB salaries to date, he has made less than $2 million in his career while providing tens of millions of dollars of value to his employer.

    He would prefer to work elsewhere, but has virtually zero leverage.

    He could put up another monster season while making under $500,000, suffer a career ending injury in September and make a little over $2 million in career earnings while providing around $100 million in value to his employer.

    Many of us have the ability to choose where we work and, among other things, the option of not being paid WELL below free market value. Virtually none of us provides 50 times more value than our wage/salary to our employer like Stanton will have done by the end of 2013.

    Of course, this is collectively bargained between MLB and the PA. Fairly or unfairly, players gain numerous benefits as they gain seniority.

    Many of us may prefer that players are paid what they are worth. We would be cool with Stanton making $30 million a year if it meant Adam Lind could make $1 million a year.

    But, again, this is collectively bargained. And for those of us who follow the NHL as well as MLB, collective bargaining is actually something owners prefer in the year 2013. It would be much harder, maybe impossible, to run the business without market fixing practices like the draft, 6 years of team control etc.

    Darren Oliver is on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to Stanton. He has completed his 6 years of service time in which the owner has virtually all of the power, at least until his arbitration eligible years.

    Why is it that fans call what Oliver is doing to the Jays “extortion” but refrain from calling the pittance the Jays are paying Brett Lawrie “exploitation”?

    This is capitalism. If you have issues with it like I do, there are much better areas to focus on than “greedy players”.

    On the other hand, I am a fan of the Blue Jays so I will applaud AA signing Lawrie to a 5 year $20 million contract with 3 club options while he has the leverage over Canadian Jesus.

    • I think you need to revisit the facts of the CBA negotiations you’re quoting. It is the PLAYERS, not the owners that want the systems rigged so that veterans get the majority of the money. The players want the veterans that have sacrificed to build the league to get most of the money to prevent one or two year wonders from robbing them of the wealth they have sacrificed to create.

      The players are just as much at fault for the exploitation of young players as the owners are.

      • Imagine that… a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the collective.

      • @Mark

        I am simply making reference to the fact that some feel collective bargaining may have run its course in major pro sports and that it doesn’t favour the “collective” as much as it once did. It’s a minor point, not the primary argument.

        We all pat Anthopolous on the back when he uses his leverage to get multiple club options on “controllable” players.

        There is no need to vilify Oliver when he uses his leverage.

        The “greedy player” narrative is far too simplistic.

        • @ Jays2010

          See: Occam’s Razor.

          Often, the most simplistic explanation is the correct one. I think you’re over thinking this.

          • Over thinking what exactly?

            If you’re still harping on my point about the CBA actually benefitting owners in this day and age, just ignore it as it has very little to do with the crux of my argument.

          • The greedy player narrative. There doesn’t need to be anything else used to explain this situation.

            A very wealthy player saw an opportunity to marginally increase his wealth and he’s trying to take advantage of that opportunity even though he has already signed a commitment to play for a lesser value. The option of retiring changes none of those facts.

            How does this not fit the framework of the greedy player narrative you say is too simple?

          • @TFM

            This is business and it is called leverage.

            Oliver giving his employer the opportunity to buy him out of retirement or move him to his home team for an asset is not “greedy”.

            He is giving AA what he likes: options

          • @ Jays2010

            Right…I forgot. Every time a greedy player was trying to get more money it wasn’t because this was a business and they had leverage. Those facts clearly change the situation here.

    • I read only the first line…common just cause the guy mentioned you in one post is no reason keep on refreshing the pearl necklace Irene. Pace yourself, it’s gonna be a long season.

      • Uh, what the fuck do you keep prattling on about?

        I’ve commented on this blog for years.

        And, you know, this is a blog. Where people give debate certain topics. If you disagree, you could try and add something of substance.

        • K…great. Thanks for defining this blog you speak of. Keep on working that kegel exercise…you never know when you’ll need it…make a mess of the beard!

          Not that it matters a great fuck…but thanks for your ‘years’ of service but I only recall your seeing your name smudge for the last few months…maybe july/aug ?!?! But whatever…maybe you were bubbles or that ice cream jonsy guy until you decided on Jays2010.

          • Enuff of the 6years of control salary bullshit arguement as well. How many other jobs in the world work their pay increases with service time.

            Not to mention guys like Stanton and Pujols who under paid in their early years are most likely overpaid in their later years. Happens all the time with good players which earn their long term contracts paying them well outta their productive years. It works out in the end for the most part in many cases

  39. @ Hentgen… Ya it’ll make AA look weak if he caves to his ridiculous demands, I would tell Oliver to Fuck Off and hang up the phone lol

  40. “If you don’t like your job, you don’t retire. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American Way”

    fwiw, i think its crummy what oliver is doing. i hate it whenever nfl players do the same

  41. @jays2010… Again speechless

  42. This post has made me seriously consider not returning to this website. Either You and Drew have followed Parkes lead to the Holier than thow school of Journalism, or you’re purposely trying to stir the pot to generate page hits.

    Can you please get back to being objective? Where exactly does this notion that Oliver isn’t getting market balue come from? 7 million over two years for middle inning bullpen arm is more than fair. JP Howell and Jason Frasor didn’t get that. You can’t keep pointing to closer contracts because like it or not, closers get paid more and Oliver isn’t one.

    • I agree 100 percent Mark. I had to check who wrote this post 5 times

    • “Where exactly does this notion that Oliver isn’t getting market balue come from?”

      It comes from his stats page. Look up his last 3 seasons for FIP, and last 5 for ERA. $3M is what he agreed on, but he’s easily valued around $5M (something FanGraphs agrees with).

      His L/R splits were also impressive last season. The fact that you even compared Howell to Oliver is hysterical.

      • Laughable argument. Go look up the percentage of middle relievers that make 5 mil or more.

        • Here, I’ll just do it for you. According to Cots, here are the higher annual salaries EVER paid to relievers:

          1. Mariano Rivera, $15,000,000 (2008-10) (2011-12)
          2. Brad Lidge, $12,500,000 (2009-11)
          . . . Jonathan Papelbon, $12,500,000 (2012-15)
          4. Francisco Rodriguez, $12,333,333 (2009-11)
          5. Jonathan Papelbon, $12,000,000 (2011)
          6. Joe Nathan, $11,750,000 (2008-11)
          7. Francisco Cordero, $11,500,000 (2008-11)
          8. Billy Wagner, $10,750,000 (2006-09)
          9. Kerry Wood, $10,250,000 (2009-10)
          10. Mariano Rivera, $10,000,000 (2013)
          11. B.J. Ryan, $9,400,000 (2006-10)
          12. Jonathan Papelbon, $9,350,000 (2010)
          13. Heath Bell, $9,000,000 (2012-14)
          14. Brian Fuentes, $8,750,000 (2009-10)
          15. Trevor Hoffman, $8,000,000 (2010)
          16. Bobby Jenks, $7,500,000 (2010)
          . . . Heath Bell, $7,500,000 (2011)
          18. Jose Valverde, $7,000,000 (2010-11)
          . . . Jonathan Broxton, $7,000,000 (2013-15)
          20. Carlos Marmol, $6,666,667 (2011-13)
          21. Danys Baez, $6,333,333 (2007-09)
          22. Trevor Hoffman, $6,000,000 (2009)
          . . . Mike Gonzalez, $6,000,000 (2010-11)
          . . . Matt Thornton, $6,000,000 (2012-13)
          . . . Jeremy Affeldt, $6,000,000 (2013-15)
          . . . Mike Adams, $6,000,000 (2013-15)
          27. Bobby Jenks, $5,600,000 (2009)
          28. Octavio Dotel, $5,500,000 (2008-09)
          . . . Fernando Rodney, $5,500,000 (2010-11)
          . . . Joaquin Benoit, $5,500,000 (2011-13)
          . . . Jonathan Broxton, $5,500,000 (2010-11)

          This means that presently Riviera, Pappelbon, Bell, Broxton, Marmol, Thornton, Affeldt, Adams, and Benoit make $5.5 mil or more. We can probably add Soriano and Rodney to this right now as well.

          The bottom line is that the vast majority of relievers that make more than 5 mil are closers or set up men. Oliver is neither, and far older than all of them. 2 yrs at 7 mil was a great deal for him last year. There is nothing wrong with his contract. If you think there is, ask the other 150 relievers in the league if they would take it.

          • the market isn’t defined by what some other entity paid to fill a need. It is defined by what remaining entities in need are willing to pay to fill it.

        • He’s only a middle reliever because the back end of the bullpen consists of Santos and Janssen you dipshit. Numbers > position.

          • @indestructible

            If Janssen or Santos went down Delabar would move up and Oliver would still be middle relief. Like he would be on almost all mlb teams.

            Not saying hes not valuable but i dont understand what yer getting at with the Janssen/Santos thing

          • @ indestructible

            Yes…and that’s the exact same reason that every other middle reliever is one too: because better pitchers pitch earlier or later in the game.

            That’s like saying the only reason Adam Lind sucks is because almost every other first baseman in the league is better than him. If it wasn’t for them, he’d be a star!!

    • +1 fucking Stoetinling

      I was going to post a comment but this pretty much sums it up. Not that I’ll stop coming here 5x day….but the FUCK!

      I respect everyone has an opinion, even that shit smudge 2010, but the whole push that the Rogers machine can make smart/shrewd decisions but have to bend over to the BBC is out of this fuckin world.

      I would like to see BM back for 2013 but this whole fuck you pay me or I’m out, grinds me the wrong way. I want to see Oliver back and really wouldn’t give a fuck if they managed to pay 1-1.5 to getherdone….but what the fuck ever.

      • You want to see Oliver back and wouldn’t give a fuck if it costs another $1.5 million…

        But it grinds you the wrong way…

        So you’d rather the Jays save money, quite possibly win 1 less game and decrease their chances of winning the division?

        There are a number of legitimate reasons not to give in to Oliver. I’m sure you can think of one.

        • wow…you make this sound so personal. Thanks for stopping by to tend to my feelings. While your at it would you mind…..

          In a likely 1/2 billion dollar operation I’m sure that a couple of million (see what I did there? rounded up!) doesn’t matter a fuck either way.

          But the whole fact that some are shouting that Oliver is the last piece and supply vs demand bullshit and your stance of he has every right as it is his last contract blah fuckin blah is a total fucking cope out on the fact that this supposed righteous good locker-room black magic man is reneging on his fucking contract…PeRiod DOT

  43. Renegotiate Oliver’s contract and make it 100% performance based. Ok Darren you want 4.5 Mill to pitche – go earn it. Oh, wait this will never work cause no one could agree on what metrics to us fot the measusurement of goog performance. Just forget it .

  44. Not sure how you can defend Oliver’s behavior Stoeten. Like AA said, “his contract is his contract”. Period. It doesn’t matter if it’s “way below market value”‘, if he wants to play next season he should report to Dunedin, if not he can enjoy spending time with his kids. It would set a terrible precedent if the jays caved

  45. Darren Oliver will miss some of ST to prove his point, and then show up grudgingly to collect on his $3 millionThat’s unless of course AA secures another lefty and trades Oliver’s contract or lets him retire.
    I’d like Oliver back but fuck, as a fan I’m tired of American ballplayers and coaches who simply go home cause they feel like it.

    • Oliver clearly saw ownership make the run for 2013 and said fuck it if they’re just printing money I should ask for more or threaten to retire then so they know I’m important for their 2013 chances

  46. for some reason oliver thinks he should make the same as dickey

  47. The Japanese? Those sandal-wearing goldfish tenders? Ha ha! Bosh! Flimshaw!

  48. I know I earlier said we shouldn’t trade Oliver to Texas, but *if* Texas is willing to give us something halfway decent for Oliver… I mean, if Oliver retires he’s a non-asset. Turning non-assets into assets is always good.

    So I’d be willing to consider a trade with Texas. But they’d better offer something useful to us, not a B prospect. Maybe aim for Robbie Ross (doubt Texas would do that), potentially settle for Michael Kirkman; both are young left-handed relievers, we’d get years of control.

  49. Oliver is a very good late innning reliever. But he is merely a reliever and it isn’t that hard to replace 80% of that value for $3 million on the open market.

    But what if Jose Bautista was 35 and in the option year of his contract. Let’s say he has made over $50 million in his career and is coming off 5 straight MVP calibre years.

    His agent does an interview saying Bautista either wishes to be traded to Texas, receive a $6 million raise to bump his salary up to $20 million or he will retire.

    The exact same things could be said about Bautista in this scenario. “Greedy athlete” who is unwilling to “honour his contract”.

    But he is a superstar making well below market value and not paying him drastically changes the Blue Jays playoff chances.

    Would the majority of this board tell Bautista to fuck off, or prefer that Rogers invests another $6 million to keep the Jays as division favourites?

    Oliver is a good player in a complimentary role. I can understand if AA doesn’t want to give in.

    However, if it was Bautista doing this, I would be pissed if Rogers & AA didn’t make a concerted effort to keep JoeyBats from retiring.

    • Buh Bye Joey Bats…..you just don’t get it do ya?

      He is 35….what are the chances that he will have another MVP season @ 36 with Texas. I’d take my chance with Oliver let Bautista roll on and sign Johnny Damon.

      You really do make it hard to take you seriously.

      • This is a joke, right? Johnny Damon?

        You’d not think twice about giving Bautista an extra penny to the detriment of your playoff chances?


        • its a bad example because in your scenario you could just extend bautista.

          there is no extending for a 42 year old.

          this is a completely unique situation and should be treated as such.
          not to mention a middle of the order bat compared to a reliever comparison is ridic anyways.

          oliver was amazing last year, but he had his best year, pitching 60 innings at age 42. lets not make it sound like its a vital part of the team

  50. I’m not incensed with Oliver about this, but Stoeten, you have to admit “telling your employer that you need a raise or you’re going to have to go do something else is offensive?” is a pretty gross oversimplification of what is going on here.

    The guy signed a contract to play with the Toronto Blue Jays for a certain amount of money – he isn’t some workaday schlub merely asking his employer for a raise. There are entire TV shows about private contractors who don’t live up to their end of the bargain, so comparing his situation to the “real world” isn’t a position of strength. He happens to be able to do this, because he’s realistically old enough to retire , but it’s still somewhat underhanded.

    It’s also well within the law, and his rights, so that’s why I’m fine with it. But something can still be legal, yet dishonourable or underhanded.

    You’ve also made the argumentative strawman that (paraphrased) “we’d applaud AA for this kind of shrewd tactical move!”, except as far as I can tell, AA has been almost infuriatingly honourable to the players he has signed, and non-legally binding promises made, let alone contractual promises (i.e. almost letting the Marlins trade fall apart because of Jeff Mathis, and giving John Buck playing time instead of Aaron Cibia to increase his FA value).

    He has traded players, but those players still get paid what they are owed – for the amount of years they are signed to. The club doesn’t get to say “actually, we don’t really need you – give us a reason why we should pay you $4.5 million, instead of, say, $3 million this year.”

    For me, it would be one thing if he was simply saying “I’d like more money, or I’ll just retire”, because he’s fucking old, and at retirement age anyway. But it’s this secondary thing about Texas, and wanting a raise or a trade there, that rubs me the wrong way. It makes his “retirement” seem like more of a negotiating threat, than a guy really leaning towards retirement.

    • Obviously the way his agent expressed it hasn’t endeared Oliver to anyone.

      But what is wrong with Oliver basically saying he will retire, play in Texas near his family for $3 million or in Toronto for $5 million?

      What a lot of people seem to be overlooking here is that Oliver is giving the Jays two extra options they would not have if he simply retired.

      Extra option #1 allows the Jays to get an asset from trade in Texas. Yes it would be a marginal asset and Texas is a playoff competitor but it is an option nonetheless.

      Extra option #2 is getting a quality reliever for 1 year and maybe $5 million.

      If Oliver was a free agent, many of us would love signing him for a year and $5 million to supplement the bullpen.

      Obviously this is a unique scenario; but I think people are far too easily dismissing upgrading the team for what they deem to be immoral behaviour.

      • The “i’ll play here, but only if you renegotiate the contract i signed barely a year ago” is the problem.

        i guess he read about bill 115 and figured that ontario is this place where if you don’t like a contract you negotiated, you just implement one that’s to your liking.

        • Or, you know, you could look at the fact that Oliver is giving the Jays a chance to buy him out of his retirement if they feel his services are value added.

          Something that could be palatable to a playoff contender.

          • I think that’s a reasonable way of looking at it, but another way is “pay me more, or trade me where I want to go, and if you don’t, I’m taking my ball and going home.” Despite the fact that you paid me above market value when I signed this deal. Now I’m worth more (theoretically) if I was a FA, so fuck you.

            And not only that, but he’s demanding a raise from the team he’s currently contracted to, but openly offering to play for Texas for his current salary.

            Perfectly within his rights to say, but a shitty position to put the team he’s contractually obligated to, in.

            Like I said – I’m not mad at the guy, like some people are. Baseball players are mostly mercenaries, out to make as much as they can during their playing years. But that doesn’t mean that, as a fan, I can’t occasionally be mildly disappointed by the way they go about that.

            I think some “regular people” find stuff like this offensive, because we can never do things like this in our daily lives. When you sign a contract, you honour it, and you expect the same from others. If not, you expect repercussions.

            As such, it can be a bit jarring to see how worthless contracts are in pro sports sometimes.

    • slow clap

  51. It’s nost aksing for more that bothers me, and I belive some other fans, it’s the I need more or trad me to texas/I retire that irks the fans.

    It’s as if he belives the organization is third class, and HAS to pay him the extra money. If i’m AA, I say hell no, he just built a contender, he doesn’t need to cater to players like a third market organization.

    However, with that said, I understand where Andrew is coming from, but in thi case Darren is treating the organization terribly, and cares not for the betterment of the team, but his own self interest. (understandably, but fans will never take a liking to that).

  52. I find it amazing how easily peoples jimmies get rustled when dealing with people making more money than themselves. The prevailing attitude appears to be ‘Oliver is rich, therefore he shouldn’t try and maximize his happiness/wealth’ (gotta achieve that maximum utility!).

    If the Jays don’t like Oliver’s ‘extortion’ they can simply let him retire/trade him.

    • Agreed. This is something between an employee and employer. I can see both sides. I know both Oliver’s agent and Rogers are negotiating through the media, but it’s ugly and everyone feels the need to have their own precious snowflake opinion about it.

      Can you imagine if non-sports companies all started publishing the salaries of their employees? Production, manufacturing and R&D would come to a complete grinding halt in the western world for four months due to the drama.

    • the pay me more then i agreed or i’ll retire is stupid. regardless if he makes more money or not.

      the difference between retirement and playing the game shouldn’t be in an extra million dollars.

  53. If Oliver retired tomorrow, nobody would think twice.

    Yet giving Toronto a chance to keep him is…unethical?

    • What’s “your word” worth Jays2010?

      If you defend Olivers actions then I’d wager it’s not worth much.

      • What exactly do you think Oliver promised the Blue Jays when he signed his contract?

        He certainly didn’t promise to play out 2013 if he wanted to retire.

        Oliver is giving the Jays the opportunity to buy him out of retirement and become an asset. Nothing wrong with that.

  54. This is what happens when the problem contains personal viewpoints and business issues.
    Business can be ruthless and uncaring.
    Personal feelings can affect business decisions.
    And the circle begins.

  55. Hey Stoeten, it’s not Rogers that anyone is siding with, it’s Alex Anthopolous who has done nothing but act with the best interests of the players he has worked with. (see Mathis, Buck, etc)

    When you have a GM who honours agreements whether they be of the handshake or contractual variety it makes it much harder to palate 47 million dollar men who piss on the legal documents that they have signed.

    Fuck Oliver with a rusty chainsaw.

    I’m surprised at your position Stoeten.

    • precisely. AA is a person with principles in the business world ( imagine that). He dosen’t get traded to Texas, he doesn’t get more $$$. He plays for the 3m or retires. End of story. Oliver can always try his magic shit for his eight team in 2014

    • +2 Smasher.

      Frye is obviously ignorant of AA’s managerial style.

      AA does not negotiate through the media.

      The way out for Oliver is to FIRE his agent & reprimand him for incompetence.

      Oliver comes back to the Jays for $3 million.

      AA makes him a coach/consultant for 2014-2016 for 1.5 million privately,

  56. Both sides of the argument are wrong. Oliver signed a contract last year, out performed the contract and wants an upgraded one. Okay, no?blue jays are in their best post to compete in 20 odd years and a lefty like oliver will fit nicely.

  57. The thing that’s kinda bullshit is Jeff frye playing this out in the media. Although the fact that they are resorting to this kind of indicates that the negotiations aren’t going all that hot but AA probably can’t give in at this point on either front without looking kind of weak.

  58. The CBA artificially inflates FA values by restricting competition – this helps the players. In exchange for this they give up 6 years of control at below market rates. This is the whole point of it. Please stop bringing this ’6 years of being underpaid’ argument. without this no one would invest in player development.

    If there was total FA every year – its likely average salaries would go DOWN not up.

    As Parkes at GB said the agreement was negotiated in bad faith- please tell me under what circumstances he plays for the Jays in 2013 at that contract level he signed.

    As for the ‘it’s only Rogers money’ thing. What an irrelevant argument. I mean why try and build a team on a set budget? Its just Rogers money. Why take the risk signing JB when everyone (cough) was saying please only sign him for 3 years.

    Why not just wait till he is a FA and pay above the highest bid. It’s just Rogers money.

    On top of all this- he/they made it public, which is idiotic and counter productive. I think it’s very fair to criticism him on lots of levels.

    Lastly for 4.5m I’m not sure that B Lyon isn’t a better option anyway.

    • I agree. Lyon would be a good an investment . But his salary last year was 5.5 mill and I would expect he’d want more as a 33y/o FA.

      • Lyon will be lucky to get the 4.5 mil one year with an option for 2 yrs at 7 mil that Oliver got last year.

  59. It is my belief that any player, any agent, or any GM can negotiate in any manner they feel reasonable to get a fair and equitable agreement of terms.

    Once the agreement is made you forfeit all rights to manipulate the other parties and should honour your agreement.

    Actually, why am I calling it my belief, it’s the LEGAL language for any contract.

    What the fuck are we talking about here?

    Pitch or retire.

    And either way, shut Jeff Frye and his little squirrel face up.

    • Can anyone out there make me a “Die Jeff Frye” bumper sticker?

      There could be a crisp 20 dollar bill in it for you.

      • It’s not like Jeff Frye is this uber agent that throws his weight around. AA needs to stick to his guns and not give in.

    • + billions to The Smasher. He is precisely right. No wonder Frye got fired from his agency. He clearly has no clue how and where to negotiate. He has put his client into an unfortunate position and I’m not sure where it goes from here. AA already has a good rep among players, and I doubt this will hurt him. I’m sure neither he nor Beeston will wish to appear soft twice in an off-season. I suspect Oliver will have to retire. And if that happens, neither he nor his wonderful agent will see a dime out of next season. And the season after he will be lucky to get a minor-league contract.

  60. Stoeten your too defensive trying to justify why this guy deserves more money. Trying to get backing by firing shots at Rogers is silly and doesn’t align to the facts. In the end a contract is a contract. It’s a part of Capitalism. Sure Oliver has played well but…I think AA calling his bluff is the right thing to do. I bet he comes back to he Jays under his original agreement. This team has a chance to do well.

  61. Pathetic justification, Stoeten.

  62. Are the Jays even allowed to rip up his contract and renegotiate just the one year? As much as I like Oliver and I want him to pitch for the Jays, it would be a really, really bad precedent – not just for them, but for all of MLB.

    I am fully on board with NFL players holding out for more money, as they do not have guaranteed contracts, but in leagues that have guaranteed contracts, I’m just not sure there’s anything in the collective bargaining agreements that would allow for this.

  63. Also, I think the Jays should only trade Oliver if they get equal value back in a trade. Giving Texas a quality arm should not be on AA’s to-do list.

  64. Here are a list of relievers that signed between October of 2011 and April of 2012:

    Javier Lopez – 8.5 M / 2 years
    Joe Nathan – 14.5 M / 2 years
    Broxton – 4M / 1 year
    Heath Bell – 27 M / 3 years
    Capps – 4.75M / 1 year
    Rauch – 3.5 M / 1 year
    Hawkins – 3 M / 1 year
    Dotel – 3.5 M / 1 year
    Frank Francisco – 12 M / 2 years
    Oliver – 1 year 4.5M (or 2 years 7M with contract)
    Madson – 1 year 8.5M
    Kerry Wood – 1 year 3M
    Francisco Cordero – 1 year 4.5M

    What did we learn from this?

    When you throw out the contracts from the closers (Madson, Nathan, Bell) and the guys coming off injuries (Wood, Broxton and perhaps Capps), the rest of the relievers generally made between 3M and 4.5M per season. Non closing relievers don’t get paid nearly as much as guys who have saves and “closing experience” and all that nonsense.

    The other thing bringing down Oliver’s price is his age. He’s a dominant player, but there is a lot more risk with him because he’s a player in his 40′s.

    The bottom line is based on the contracts that were signed in the offseason heading into 2012, Darren Oliver was paid fair value. The game has more money now because of all the media contracts, which is why players are signing for more money now. At the time Oliver’s contract was signed, it was fair value. So I find it hard to justify this thought that he is or was underpaid.

    Think about it – if another team thought his value was higher than 7.5M/2 years, would he be an employee of the Jays? No, he’d be with another organization. 30 General Managers looked at his value, and the best offer Oliver received was $7.5M/2 years.

    Just like Michael Bourn, Darren Oliver is free to believe that his value is significantly higher than it is. Doesn’t make it true, and it doesn’t justify paying him the money simply because he’s a quality player. He got signed to a fair contract, with a team that offered him the most money, and it’s not underpaid relative to the contracts that were signed around the period when the Jays signed Oliver.

    The Jays shouldn’t give in, even if it means that they don’t have Oliver pitching for them in 2013.

    • @Mark.

      Thanks for the list. It does seem that Oliver got fair market value.

      Why didn’t Texas keep him? Didn’t he blow a couple of playoff games?

      It’s true that his performance in 2012 was above the money he earned but he should have refused the second year if he was so adamant of being a free agent this year.

  65. Btw one of Happ/Cecil should be able to fill the Oliver role very easily for 2013

    • No, they shouldn’t. Because Oliver was outstanding against RH & LH bats, while Cecil couldn’t get RH bats out to save his life. And while Happ can do well against both, he’s not nearly as good as Oliver is.

      Saying Happ/Cecil can replace Oliver is like saying Brad Lincoln could replace Sergio Santos. Lincoln may be solid, but he’s not nearly as good as Santos.

      • True…but I don’t think they’ll need to call on Oliver to get righties out this year if they don’t want to anyway. There are lots of arms down there now.

      • but you don;t need your lefty specialist to be able to get righties out.. its nice, but not necessary. especially when you have righties relievers who can get righties and lefties out

        darren oliver is a luxury. not a necessity. a lot of lefty specialist cant get righties out and therefore aren’t usually allowed to try.

  66. steoten sticking up for oliver like wilner did overbay

  67. Oliver problem isn’t the money, its the agent he selected to represent him. Darren, your agent should have taken care of you better than he did last year when you signed the deal.

    • The irony is that Frye became an agent because he felt abandoned by his when he was nearing retirement.

  68. When does Oliver have until to decide?

    • Decide what? He’s got a contract.

      • I would imagine he has to sign some kind of papers or declaration to retire and the Jays in turn would have to file it with the league office. Having said that, He could retire in mid season as far as that’s concerned. But my bet would be before SpringTraining, because all players (especiallt veterans) hate ST .

        • because its an option i assume he has to decide one way or the other before spring training..

          especially since theres a buyout involved

  69. Well, this off-season of baseball coverage across Canada was fun while it lasted. Thank god for this refuge from stupid hockey.

  70. Old Oliver has got nothing to lose, other than say possibly a kick at the World Series.

    • What about the $3 Millon ? That’s not chump change

    • Yeah, he might be strapped getting his kids through Texas A and M considering he made only $46.3 million for the career.

      He needs to work that dog fucker and help us with a World Series! Haha.

  71. Berkman


    texas rangers

  72. I think this entire conversation is ridiculous. Oliver signed a contract full-well knowing what the value of it was. He accepted this final option year full knowing exactly what it could mean. And now he threatens retirement or a trade, or more money?

    At this point I would simply tell his agent, this is what you signed. You don’t like it, retire. We are not negotiating a new contract (you have one) and we are not trading you because we signed you and want you to pitch for us. You’re not happy with the contract you signed? Go play catch with your kids all summer.

  73. “I don’t want to really get into the trade talk; things can happen,” Anthopoulos said

    He’s gonna trade him if he can, not pay him.

    “I do not,” Anthopoulos said when asked if he expected Oliver to be a member of the 2013 Blue Jays.

    He is NOT getting more money, he’s gone one way or another.

  74. I dislike this discussion. Someone float a free agent rumour so we can talk about something else.

    • Blue Jays infield prospect Justin Jackson will transition to the role of starting pitcher this season.
      Still just 24 years old, the former first-round pick hit a meager .230/.320/.315 over six minor league seasons as a shortstop. He’s said to have a plus arm, but the right-hander is incredibly raw and unlikely to make an impact at the major league level in the near future.

      • From Rotoworld

      • Disappointing end to that saga. We just can’t seem to get lucky with positional prospects. JPA is currently the most successful positional prospect to graduate to the majors for the Jays in the last 5 years. That’s just sad.

  75. Stoeten,

    In your few articles on this topic I feel like you have failed to mention the legal precedent that would be set in re-negotiating this contract. As far as I can tell, there has been no post-free agency player to ever attempt this form of posturing (and being successful in negotiation after said posturing).

    This isn’t about Oliver’s family or what his market value is.

    This is about setting a legal precedent for all agents in the MLB Baseball Market under the current CBA. Re-negotiating in Oliver’s light creates a vaccum under which EVERY player currently signed to an MLB contract can posture in this fashion and expect to be successful.

    This would not be good if Bautista/Encarnacion/Morrow suddenly felt “undervalued” on a contract they knowingly signed, as they would then have a device for such a hypothetical negotiation.

    • @Markham.

      Good point.

      AA may be prevented from opening an existing contract.

      AA could add an extension for 2014, but it seems pretty rare to open up existing contracts.

    • no. no no.


      what don’t you people get. oliver is old and willing to retire, thats his leverage

      bautista, ee etc don’t have that leverage. no one is going to believer bautista if he says pay me more or i’ll retire. he’d just be wasting a year of his prime not getting paid.

      there is absolutely no precedent that would be set one way or another. its completely unique.

      lance berkman was thinking of retiring, rangers through 11 million his way to make him decide otherwise. oliver wants that same treatment, right or wrong. but there is absolutely no legal matters or cba issues with this. its bullshit and stupid, but perfectly fair and legal

  76. The one interesting aspect of this Oliver Ordeal is that DO holds a hammer on a semi-precious roster spot on the 40 man. What is the drop-dead date for him to make a decision re: retirement or playing wherein the Jays have secured whatever value they have on that contract option.

    Until then, he sits there clogging a spot.

  77. The most maddening thing is that the Jays were the highest bidders for Oliver at the time and he thought the contract was fair enough to sign it, didn’t he? Bautista was thankful for the contract AA offered him and we won’t hear him bitching that it ended up being under market value.

    • Oliver is asking for either more money or a trade to his home town team to forgo retirement.

      For some reason people want to use this as a reason to foam at the mouth about millionaire athletes

      It could just as easily be viewed as Oliver giving the Jays a chance to turn him into an asset.

      • It’s not foam it’s bile.

        I get acid reflux when people don’t honour their commitments.

        • I get acid reflux when management doesn’t exhaust their options when it comes to adding free assets.

          • Oliver ceased to be a free asset the minute he reneged on an agreement he signed. Jays’ management aren’t the bad guys here. Get it through your thick skull.

        • Well said, Smasher.

          • In case you haven’t noticed, I am not grilling AA in the least.

            I am simply saying Oliver shouldn’t be vilified for using leverage since front offices get praised for doing the exact same thing.

            I have no issue with AA holding his ground. But it’s certainly not the only option.

          • And to clarify, I am not talking about Oliver being a free asset.

            I am saying he is giving the Jays a chance to turn him into an asset, either for the Jays ML team or on the trade market.

            If he simply retires, the Jays get nothing.

            • I’m tired of debating this shit. We don’t see eye to eye one this. I understand, but strongly disagree with, your point of view.

              A final note before I give everyone a break from my point of view, because I think I broke my record for comments on a single post. If Oliver chooses to retire, the Jays not only free up $3MM in salary, they also prevent Oliver from going to an AL rival that is likely to face them in the playoffs.

              It’s a shame that this is the story we’re riding into Spring Training on.

              Go Jays!

  78. Oliver has indicated one team on which he will play for $3 million.

    Let’s say he’d be willing to play for the Blue Jays or any other team for $5 million.

    Renegotiate his salary up to $5 million and trade him to the NL team willing to make the best offer. Obviously it has to be a team Oliver is willing to play on which is likely a contender.

    But it’s outside of the league and the Jays get an asset. It probably wouldn’t even be a horrible asset since the Jays would have the ability to trade him to more than one team.

    Oliver wins as he gets more money to forgo retirement.

    The Jays win as they get an asset which they otherwise wouldn’t have.

    The “Oliver is greedy” zealots win as he is exiled from Canada.

    • don’t you think it is kind of a slap to the face when Oliver is only willing to play on a contending team for an extra million dollars? if Oliver was saying “either I play close to home or I retire” then I can live with that. but when he thinks it’s worth being far from his kids only if he gets an extra million dollars I think he is a bafoon.

      • What is wrong with asking for more money to play away from his family?

        That’s a pretty basic stance to take.

        • It’s a stance he should have taken last year when he negotiated and signed his contract. It doesn’t't get much more basic than that.

        • I don’t know bonehead. Lets think about it. Maybe when Oliver signed his 2 year deal he didn’t realize that Toronto wasn’t in Texas! Or maybe he thought that by the second year of his contract Toronto would be moved to Texas! Because unless Oliver is also a bone-fucking stupid moron and believed either of those things, then he knew when he signed his contract that he was going to be playing away from his family for the agreed upon salary.

          If you want to charge more for playing away from Texas then you negotiate that up front. You don’t sign a deal and then later try to chisel the team on the second year after getting most of the money put into the first year. That’s what good faith bargaining and honesty is all about.

          So if you need to ask what’s wrong with that, you’re probably not able to understand.

          • Or, you know, instead of focussing on vilifying Oliver you could look at the fact that he is giving the Blue Jays two options they otherwise would not have if he simply retired.

  79. I’m not sure if anyone has dug it up, but I just came across this quote from Oliver’s agent:

    “It’s going to take a lot more money for Darren to play in Toronto than play in Texas. We’re waiting on the Blue Jays to pay him what he deserves. If not, we have asked them to trade him to Texas if the Rangers are interested.”

    I’ve felt fairly understandable about Oliver’s line of thinking, even though he won’t win this battle, but this quote just pisses me off and makes the situation feel faaaar less justifiable. Yes your client had a great year. Yes, in the last 5 seasons your client has had the 9th-best fWAR out of all relievers (cue Mark telling me that I’m wrong rofl). But the fact remains that the agent and Oliver agreed to this contract. You fucking deserve absolutely nothing.

    • Mr. Frye, remind your client he has until February 21 to report to camp. Should he fail to appear or tender his resignation prior to this date, he will be deemed to be in breach of his contractual obligations. As such the Toronto Blue Jays will prosecute your client under the labour laws of the Province of Ontario. Please extend us the curtesy of announcing your intentions by noon tomorrow.

    • “It’s going to take a lot more money for Darren to play in Toronto than play in Texas. We’re waiting on the Blue Jays to pay him what he deserves.”

      So Jays2010, are you enjoying this kick in the balls to the Jays organization and fanbase? Can you understand why people are mad at the Oliver camp?

      • He wants more money to play away from his family.

        This is not about some hatred for Toronto/Canada regardless of how many people try to take it there.

        I understand perfectly why people are foaming at the mouth. I simply don’t agree with it.

        • It’s a reasonable position that’s being complicated and skewed by his agent’s lack of media-savvy/articulation.

        • See the posts above. You don’t understand shit.

        • Your logic is horseshit.

          You wanna gather information on how many players play away from their families or how many players bring their families with them to the cities they play in?

          Now, how many of those players ask for more money because theyre away from their families.

          He signed a contract, it’s the blue jays fault that he didnt think hard enough about the pros and cons to playing in Toronto.

          This is a tough situation now because if Oliver decides to pitch for the money HE AGREED TO, then he will be a miserable prick all year and really, who wants that kind of shit around. If they trade him theyre not getting fuck all for him and he gets his way.

          Why is it the Jays fault that the Giants decided to overpay Affeldt? Fuck this old man and his agent.

          • You are assuming that in the end Oliver will end up playing for $3 million in Toronto as long as AA plays hardball.

            Instead of the fact that Oliver could simply retire and not give the Blue Jays the chance of making him an asset.

        • @jays2010 said…’This is not about some hatred for Toronto/Canada regardless of how many people try to take it there.’

          Now I’ve read a fuck load of comments here and I don’t recall one where it has argued from that angle.

          Maybe your recollection is from the jays.com board where you born from the seed of some homeless Jay’s fan spewing his garbage on the ground.

    • @ indestructible

      I won’t tell you the stat you quoted is wrong, I’m sure it’s correct. I’ll just add that using a counting stat like fWAR is a poor way to assess the relative value of middle relievers over a 5 year period.

      But then again, if you honestly think that Darren Fuckin Oliver has been the 9th best reliever in the majors over the last half decade, I won’t argue with you because you’re clearly hopeless.

  80. Stoeten you missed a factor here… the thing that pisses me off is that he will pitch for the Rangers for the current salary but wants more to pitch for the Jays.

    And if your way of thinking is correct then we will have a lot of players in baseball asking for more money, including EVERY shortstop in baseball being paid less than Stephen Drew because every one of them is worth more than him.

    Bottom line is, a contract is a contract, he signed it, his agent agreed to it so they should have to live up to their word.

    Thats it.

    • Oliver can retire and live up to his word.

      Instead, he is giving the Blue Jays two different option to add value by either paying him more and improving the team or trading him and getting an asset to return.

      I’m not sure why people keep overlooking the fact that he can simply retire if he is not satisfied with his salary or place of work.

      • I think the problem really comes from making the negotiation public. In my mind, there would be a precedent/problem with renegotiation, but if they remained private with the discussions, the trade could’ve happened without anybody knowing specific demands were made.

  81. Oh and the other factor here Stoeten.. you compared this situation to someone in a workplace figuring out that theyre worth more money so they want a raise or they will take their skills elsewhere.

    Fair enough, IF Oliver was being paid a wage perhaps. But he’s not, hes under CONTRACT that he and his employer both agreed to like a year ago. Have you ever worked under contract? I have and if I had gone to my boss a year after signing the contract and asked for a 50% raise I would have been told to fuck off and get back to work and if I had said I was going to take my skills elsewhere my boss would have said “see you in court where you will lose”.

    Im failing to see the comparison here.

    • The contract is not an agreement that prevents Oliver from retiring.

      • Did I say that?

        • When you are talking about your boss beating you in court because of something comparable you could do in your job, you are obviously overlooking the fact that Oliver is perfectly within his rights to retire.

      • Sure he can use his retirement clause to get out of it however for the duration of the contract (one year) he cant sign with another major league team.

    • @ Buck


      Difference between a signed contract & regular employment law.

      Stoeten may have a contract with the Score to produce this website. If Rogers offers him a more lucrative contract, he may not be able to accept it.

      • I’m not sure how much ordinary employment law matters here, but most contracts have both a competition and an exit clause for both parties, meaning for example that you can exit the contract with notice, but there is a provision against providing similar services within the time frame of the originally signed contract. Meaning… you can give notice and take another position, but it can’t be in the same field or in competition with your current employer.

        Which does sort of make it applicable to this situation.

  82. My humble cap tip/crotch grab for AA.

    —- Fan Disclaimer —- nothing to see here but the ramblings of a drunk jays fan. Simply my observations based on no facts and an over indulgence in rum. Read at your own risk.

    Caution, may induce drinking, vomitting, delusions and diarrhea:

    Once Pat Gillick left after the banner years and Toronto didn’t draw enough fans to run with the top dogs salary-wise, management had been trying to find ways to keep the Jays competitive.

    American ball players (given the choice) prefer not to play in Canada. It wasn’t as much an issue in the early 90′s because Jays paid top dollar and the new”ish” skydome wasn’t yet looked at with complete disdain.

    As the cobwebs settled on the banners, Jays Gm’s have tried to deal with the lower budget and the common view that Toronto “is an unfavorable place to play” by overpaying for FA’s, drafting “ML ready guys” out of college, and taking on talented (yet problamatic) players like Mondesi etc.. None of it worked.

    AA it would seem, decided to take another direction by loading up on scouting, draft picks, arms, and good coaching. He also gambled on his own talent by signing JB, EE, and LInd very early to long term, team friendly deals. His plan took patience and after some good early trades in his career, he stayed the course last year and let the prospects develop despite the many grumblings of fans and media. A good indicator of how out of favor he was falling with fans and media was this very site. You could barely scratch together enough posts from SP, Karen, GSMC and others at the end of last season to keep Stoeten in advertisement produced beer money. AA stayed the course, fostered the youth and continued stockpiling. When the opportunity finaly presented itself, instead of signing talent for above market prices, AA decided to flip many of the young assets his scouts had collected for the controllable talent he could not get through free agency.

    His plan took several years, and in hindsight was brilliant. He needed to stockpile the prospects to get the players through trade he couldn’t get through free agency. In essence he took the choice away from the players. Shrewd little devil.

    Regardless of the outcome, I think Anthopolous deserves Executive of the year for what he has allready accomplished. I can’t remember a single instance in which a team has so completely been made over from one season to the next without a GM turning into a complete whore at the free agency trough. (and we’ve seen how well that works)

    Some have written off what AA has done by pointing out the sudden infusion of cash from Rogers, but AA had always said the money was there when the time was right. Had he simply been given 100 million dollars at the start of his tenure there is no way he could have accumulated the talent he presently is in possesion of.

    Imagine 2012 ends and Buehrle/JJ/Reyes/Bonifacio hit free agency. There’s no way he gets all of them to come north. No way he fills a roster the traditional away, even for 100+ million.

    His plan took recognition of the elephant in the room – players will play elsewhere for less. So he needed to aquire controlled talent without signing it. His plan also took a great deal of patience, stealth and thick skin.

    Atta Kid AA, here’s to lucky 13.

    • You don’t even need to buy me beers at the lanes, Smasher. I’ll sneak in a bottle of Elijah Craig and we can toast AA all night.


    • @Smasher

      Fuckin Rights!!!!

      • This is all the situation is about

      • I hope to see all you bastards in Toronto this year.

        My brother a few other DJF’s and I are also going to try and take in the 2 game set in San Diego June 1st,2nd.

        If we don’t get arrested I’m sure Kellgrubersbastardson will spill all the filthy details on here as eloquently as always.

    • Very well said.

      However, if Rogers had said 85 million payroll maximim for 2013, AA can’t get the deals done.

      This team should be able to compete for the next 3 years based on curent roster.
      After that, if payroll limits are kept high then they can compete later on.

    • I need more shoutouts

    • Except it was Beeston’s plan and AA’s execution.

      • Come on RADAR, no nitpicking; give the Smasher a firm, manly crotch grab–he’s got his dosage spot on tonight and is lucid as all get out.
        Nice rant, my friend.

        (And not one word about Oliver twisting in the wind. Ya gotta like that.)

        • True SP.I’m a bit cranky tonight.
          I won’t nit pick.There’s more to the history but for now let’s celebrate.
          I don’t crotch grab,that’s Stoeten’s gig.
          But a cap tip for the rant.

  83. AA is not going there with Oliver. He’ll trade him.

    • @dave

      trade Oliver to who?? Every team knows he will retire unless its Texas who deals for him. And with that being common knowledge there is not much bargaining power in AA’s corner.

      And who is to say Texas wants to take another flyer on Oliver anyways??

      He is done IMO

    • AA is not trading Oliver. The only destination apparently is Texas, and Toronto cannot afford to send that team pitching. Also, AA is not going to negotiate a raise with him just to flip him somewhere else with no guarantee that Oliver will go there.

      Because AA now can’t trust Oliver to be a professional, he has no viable options. Oliver is as good as retired.

  84. If DO/ agent were smart , they would have gone to AA privately and said DO is a family guy and wants to spend next year in Texas, either as a Ranger or as a retired baseball player.

    AA being AA would have offered a new contract ( if he wanted) or arranged a trade.

    By doing this publicly, DO has killed his trade value so AA should tell him to enjoy his retirement, asshole.

  85. I’ve liked AA since the Brandon Morrow acquisition. Of course, not all of his moves will pan out – nobody’s ever does. But so far AA has a track record with enough positive to it that I wouldn’t have wanted many if any other GMs to take his position at any point in his tenure. Especially considering his ability to do it for the toughest sell in MLB, the team that sits north of the border.

    I judge a GM on their relentlessness. Their eye for talent, from draft eligible kids, to foreign leagues to an eye for unused talent from other MLB organizations. Their hunger to continue to try and get the most out of each and every roster position in their organization, to build depth and constantly acquire good contracts.

    I never swayed my opinion on AA, even after the Farrell fiasco, when it seemed as though AA’s stock was at its lowest. All the while, I’ve felt patience is key with any respectable GM. And he, like any Toronto GM before and after him, is in a relatively short handed position right off the bat since its Toronto, and the immediate competition is two of the richest teams in baseball. Certainly I haven’t been a fan of all of his moves, but there’s a thing about him, even before the Miami deal. He still had an eye for guys like Morrow, Carlos V, Lawrie, the aggressiveness to go after disgruntled guys like Escobar and Rasmus, the balls to trade Marcum (sacrificed the rotation big time), and had built a minor league pool of talent that most scouts in MLB were raving about all in just a few seasons. Ohyeah, he also got rid of Vernon Wells somehow. Even David Copperfield couldn’t do that. Not much to show for it yet in terms of MLB results, but a pretty solid build up for the short time he’d been the GM.

    But the biggest challenge awaited him as this season wound down. Where does he go from here? Rotation was in shambles. When he traded Marcum way back when, he dealt a big blow to the SP staff, as JoJo Reyes and the misfits each took their turn trying their luck. Then, when Romero shit the bed, he got his first experience of really bad luck. Up until then, his luck was great considering EE and JBs performance. So now, the rotation aside from Morrow was a train wreck. free agency could only help so much, if any. Greinke wasn’t coming here, we all knew that. Maybe Marcum? Maybe Sanchez? Certainly a huge challenge ahead for AA to say the least.
    Then it happened. The trade. Reyes and JJ are immediate boosts. Buehrle is overpaid, but overall fills another big need. Shores up LF with Melky on a low risk commitment. Then he goes all in, sells the farm for an ace in Dickey. The kids got cahonas. He shocked the world, and he cashed in his draft picks and acquisitions for more than anyone else could have acquired, on the whole. And that’s how you gotta look at it, the all of the acquisitions at once. It starts with a phone call for JJ, and its now suddenly the roster is favoured to win the WS. If the JJ inquiry isnt made, theres no Reyes or Melky or Dickey either. AA reassessed his teams position over and over throughout the Miami deal as it grew bigger, and then continually thereafter, until he had the reigning NL Cy Young award winner signed to a three year deal. I don’t care how talented your minor league pool is, or how much experience you have or how savvy of an executive you are, no GM in the league could have pulled all of this off at a time when he needed to the most. He already, in my mind, should be the Jays GM for many years to come, regardless of what happens on the field this year. Heck, I’m pretty sure he could even get Adam Dunn to come here if he wanted to.

    • Lind > Dunn at this point with the $$$$ involved

      • do you know how those aarows work there bud?

        there are few players worse than lind in the entire league, wells, figgins, lind, thats bottom of the barrel right there.

    • Kudos face.

      A nice testament to AA, and thanks for trying to take the spotlight off all the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Into everyone’s life, a little rain must fall. That is all.

    • I was wondering whether you liked AA and when it happened.
      I was also wondering how you judged a GM.
      I was happy you never swayed in your opinion.
      Now that you’ve told me,my life is complete.
      I was worried you’d never let us know.

      • Well RADAR, you are full of piss & vinegar tonight.

        A man who requires advanced metrics just to figure out his age should be very careful stating that his life is complete. I’d hate for you to miss the 2013 season by getting your ticket punched over a misunderstanding.

        • @ SP

          From our conversations in the past, I consider you a very intelligent,knowledgable commenter.
          But that’s the second veiled threat I’ve seen from you tonight.
          Reread Hassey’s comment. Is it as much about him as it is the Jays?Thus my beginning each sentence as he began his paragraphs, with the word “I”.
          That’s my intrepretation.
          As for getting my “ticket punched”, for any who’d like to attempt the feat,a suggestion,bring your “A” game.Amateurs need not apply.
          I don’t get intimidated by bullies.

          • Sorry Radar love, should I have written the post about you? Would that have satisfied your ego?

            Just giving my perspective on things mate.Think of it as an editorial piece, not an essay.

          • RADAR, please re-read my two posts.

            Post #1–I (jokingly) accuse you of nitpicking, and only to give the Smasher his props. The rest of the short post was all about the Smasher, man. No threat, no intimation, no intimidation, and for once not even any snark, at least directed at you.

            Post #2–In my world, the expression “getting your ticket punched” is about dying, being killed, being cancelled.”
            I was suggesting (and again jokingly warning you) that you were in a way daring ‘The Gods’ or ‘Father Time’ or ‘The Grim Reaper’ by saying your life is complete. ‘Be careful what you wish for, it might come true’ and all that. Whether or not I’m a lover may well be debatable; what isn’t is the fact that I’m as far removed from being a fighter as you could possibly imagine.

            Your interpretation of face’s comments is (as you point out) your interpretation, and never entered into my post to you. Your interpretation of my comments to you, however, is way off base, and it pains me to know that you read so much into them.

            I don’t typically apologize for remarks of mine I don’t find hostile, but in this case I am sorry, and regret this late night misunderstanding. Mostly I would miss the enjoyment of the back and forth, cut and thrust repartee with you. Comebacks and witty retorts. Without a level of trust, these things are often seen as cruel, not funny or enjoyable, especially as we are often flying quickly and by the seat of our pants on this blog.

            Let’s be friends.

          • @ SP

            Now that I have recovered with the suitable medication as prescribed.
            It is I, who owes you the apology.
            Sometimes I take things a little to literally and forget about the kibitzing (sp) we both enjoy.
            The printed word does not always reflect the tone of the verbiage,unfortunately.
            In my misinterpretation of the remarks, my response, in hindsight, was over the top.
            I’m sorry for the venom sent your way.
            And back at ya,
            Let’s be friends.

      • Thank you , Radar!

  86. If Oliver starts the season with the team for, say, a week and then retires, does he still get his contract then?

    Seems like a massive loophole, so I doubt it.

    • Pretty sure contracts are pro-rated, so he’d get whatever percentage one week out of the year comes out to.

      Also not sure spring training counts, so he might get nothing.

  87. if oliver truly deserved more money, he had an option 2 years ago to go to any destination at all, including texas and he could have taken any amount of money that a team offered.

    fine he had a great year last year, but that was his best year, at age 42. regression should be anticipated, and therefore accounted for, which should bring his market value to in or around what it is now.

    if his salary was a million bucks, then i would sympathize a bit more and he would have more of a point. but 3 million is pretty fair. with the new rotation, his work load is going to go down. no way i give him a raise, even if his agent wasn’t a douche about it

    • But then he can simply retire which may very well take the Jays from an above average bullpen to merely an average one.

      I’m okay if AA wants to politely tell Oliver to fuck off.

      But I’d also be okay if AA realizes how unique of a situation this is and puts improving the team as his 1st goal.

      I mean, if it was Bautista in the last year of his contract suggesting he’d retire if the Jays don’t give him a raise closer to fair market value, I think many people would prefer AA/Rogers give him a raise.

      In fact, I think people would be calling Rogers cheap if they didn’t at least explore it.

      • thats moronic.

        bautista is still young, why would he threaten retirement in order to get a raise, and lose out on his salary during a prime season?

        cecil is fine against lefties, and there will be a lot less pressure on the bullpen this year. there is simply no reason to give oliver any more money.

        if he’s content on retiring, then just retire.

        • If Bautista was 35 and in the last year of his contract coming off 5 straight MVP calibre years, it’s perfectly reasonable to want Rogers to spend more to prevent him from retiring.

          It would be the exact same principal as this situation with Oliver.

          But fans would be far more understanding with a superstar as opposed to a reliever.

          • Stop it Jays2010. Just stop.

            Stop tackling the entire monkey army.
            It will not end well, of that you can be sure.
            If you’re authentic and not a troll, kindly give it (and us) a rest. Please. I beg you.

            Note that this is not the start of a dialogue.

          • if he was 35 you could just extend him you dunce.

  88. Zaunbie nation lol jesus christ

  89. 47 days until the Blue Jays are playing the Tigers in Spring Training. Feb 23rd.

  90. OK, after some sleep I’ve solved the Oliver problem. Here’s the scenario … no apparent deal, he stays at home in Texas until about, uhhh, mid-May. He gets into shape and returns to play in June-July-August as the Jays make a run for the AL East pennant. His family, now that the school year is over in Texas, move to T.O. for the summer and live near the stadium in some deluxe rental. He gets paid $3 mil for only playing part of a season and maybe gets some coaching or scouting gig for next year as well. He gets an effective raise, he skips spring training, the club still looks tough but fair. Everybody’s happy, amirite?

    • But that solves too many of the ‘problems’ and not enough of Oliver wanted another million or so.

  91. Lots of virtual ink spilled over the whole Oliver affair.

    Pretty simple really. Take the deal, or retire. End of fucking story.

    Its about time the DJF army gnaws on some other piece of bone that Stoeten throws at us every now and then.

  92. Wow, really? Breach of contract isn’t really breach of contract when the other party are assholes? I didn’t think the law worked that way.

    When I agree to something, then want to change the agreement, I make a case for why it’s fair, and the other party has every right to accept or deny the new terms. I live out the terms of the existing agreement. That’s the way non-asshole humans do it.

  93. Anyone know what Oliver had for breakfast today?

  94. Not what I was expecting. I thought he was more of a cereal and coffee to go type of guy. Quick and effective.

    Based on that shocking piece of news, his value has diminished considerably. Jays should tell him to screw off.

  95. AA cant give in here, if he does he will open the door for players in every organization to pull the same shit. A contract is a contract, man up and honor it.

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