From the “no shit” file, Rangers beat writer TR Sullivan of MLB.com tells us– with a helping hand from MLBTR– that “the Rangers have spoken to the Blue Jays about left-handed reliever Darren Oliver, but industry sources said a trade is unlikely to happen.”
So… y’know… in case you were still holding out hope, despite the comments from Alex Anthopoulos earlier in the week and the simple fact that dealing Oliver to a potential Wild Card rival doesn’t make sense unless the Rangers are willing to give up way more than they’d ever consider, there you have it.
I can’t say I blame Anthopoulos for holding firm with his $3-million offer to a guy who has no choice but to either take that or nothing, or for trying in any way to accommodate Oliver at anything resembling the expense of the club. And I certainly can’t blame him for snapping up a piece of the Rangers’ left-handed depth to call his own, with today’s waiver claim on Tommy Hottovy– because that’s awesome.
Is the pickup an indication that Anthopoulos is trying to squeeze something out of Texas in trade? I highly doubt it… but I’m just going to go ahead and believe it is anyway, because that’d be nails.
Speaking of Oliver, over at Baseball Prospectus, Jason Wojciechowski–who I quoted in an earlier Oliver post, and who very kindly linked back this way in his– deliciously brings the hammer down on… uh… DJF commenters, actually.
Or, at least, the ones trying to argue “that Oliver agreed to play baseball for the Blue Jays at the rate of $3 million per annum if the Blue Jays decided that they wanted to pay him that (i.e. if they exercised the option) and that threatening to retire if he’s not paid more (or traded to a team closer to his family) is immoral or in bad faith.”
“If both sides knew that retirement was a possibility, then what’s the problem?” he asks below the piece, responding to a commenter who suggests that Oliver’s request that the deal be front-loaded is the issue. “Oliver says ‘please put more money at the front of my deal’ and the Blue Jays voluntarily and with full knowledge of the possibility of his retirement accept that request. Not out of the goodness of their hearts but because it makes sense from a business perspective.”
He adds: “The problem with arguing that Oliver ‘expects the Jays not to get any benefit out of’ the option is that it construes the option as a promise to play. That’s not what it is.”
Yes, we’re still on about this.
“If everyone thought Oliver would retire, then what exactly is his threat to retire?” we’re asked in the piece itself. “The Blue Jays exercised their option on him to cover their bases, to make sure they still had the rights to employ a valuable baseball player at a reasonably cheap salary if Oliver decided that he could put off being a full-time dad for one more year. Oliver then says, “Eh, I might go ahead and do what you figured I was going to do unless you pay me more.” Whatever you think of labor exercising economic power, this isn’t exactly a plant sit-in as far as surprise or disruption to operations. Retirement was on everybody’s mind from the start.”