From the “no shit” file, Rangers beat writer TR Sullivan of 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.”

Uh… right?

Comments (176)

  1. What that line of thinking ignores is that Oliver had the chance to negotiate what he’d be willing to play for in 2013 (assuming he chose to play), and he agreed to $3M. The $4.5M was based on that as well, so now that he’s received that, playing for $3M (if he chooses to play) is part of the exchange for the $4.5M.

    No one is upset if he retires, everyone knows that’s his right. But if he chooses not to, he’s already named his price and it’s $3M.

    • Except it doesn’t ignore that at all, it just acknowledges that in no way is he bound to play for that salary.

      • He isn’t bound in the sense that he has to play – or die. But if he wants to play baseball, I don’t see how he isn’t bound. Unless we now live in a bizarro baseball world where contracts don’t mean anything.

        I don’t remember anyone saying he couldn’t retire. Its what we all expected – including AA – which is kinda what makes Oliver’s agent’s comments so funny. That the below market contract that he had negotiated less than 15 months prior wasn’t any good anymore.

        • It’s not as black-and-white as saying either Oliver is bound to the $3-million or contracts don’t mean anything. He’s not going to play in 2013 under the terms of that contract and he’s under no obligation to do so– he can retire and get nothing. However, he’s telling them that if they’re willing to tear it up, he’d reconsider retirement. It’s pretty simple.

          • The ethical argument against Oliver (the fact it’s an ethical argument explains why the Drunks have been so confused by it all) is based on the idea that the existence of the agreed-to option year bars Oliver from ethically re-opening negotiations. Oliver was bound ethically from his prior agreement for his 2013 salary- either to play at that rate or retire. Using his retirement as leverage for a higher salary is not only crass, but amounts to a repudiation of his prior agreement.

            Let’s not forget that this option year wasn’t just a potential benefit to the Jays. If Oliver had a horrible season last year, or been injured, the Jays would have had to buy him out for $500,000.

            • Sorry Gabriel, but the ability to take shots at our supposed limited grasp of ethics doesn’t mean that you understand them yourself– especially when it comes to contracts.

              I don’t want to give away too much of Wojciechowski’s piece, but he uses some hypotheticals to illustrate how what you’re suggesting is not correct. What if Oliver had said he was retiring and the Jays offered to pay him more to change his mind, for example. If he accepts any payment other than the $3-million, is that an unethical breach of the contract he signed? If he says no and the Jays offer more, has he been unethically negotiating a better deal? If he counters their offer, does THAT tip the balance into “unethical re-opening” of negotiations?

              What does tip the balance, then? The fact that it was Oliver who first made the suggestion of increasing the payment to keep him from retiring, rather than the Jays? One form of the exact same question is unethical and the other is not?

          • Which AA and the Jays aren’t going to do,which is their right and so; Oliver is retired. What’s the big deal?

          • Stoeten, shut.the.fuck.up.already.

        • @Ernie The contract DOES mean something or else Oliver could go to Texas and play all on his own. It goes both ways.

      • Like I said, no one’s upset about him retiring. That’s anyone’s right at any time. But trying to get more for 2013 is very much in bad faith (or the original negotiation was in bad faith).

        • I disagree Darnell – Oliver says he’ll play for the Jays, but not for $3MM. His right . He values (if he’s really willing to retire) the opportunity cost of playing a season of baseball for Toronto at more than $3 Million dollars. He would be willing to play for Toronto, but not for that much. Seems pretty clear to me. It would be different if he was 28 years old, in the middle of a long term guaranteed deal and just sat out.

          But if he’s really considering retirement, in my humble opinion, he’s well within his right to find out if the Jays are willing to pay more money, to present the options to the team. This does not make him immoral or slimy or going back on his word, again in my most humble of opinions.

          This from a fan who 95% of the time backs the owners / management on salary disputes.

          • He is entirely within his rights to try and renegotiate a higher rate of pay. Just as AA is entirely within his rights to tell Oliver to honor the contract or don’t play. Period.
            Could we just stop talking about this? Please?

      • Are you fucking retarded? Quit sucking olivers balls and get with the program, you bearded piece of shit!

        • that’s it exactly. It’s all coming out now that the original negotiation was in bad faith on Oliver and his agent’s part.

          I love that AA is sticking to the words of the deal. If Oliver is playing pro ball in 2013 it is for the Jays (not Rangers) for 3.0 million dollars.

          The thing is it was his agent that started up with the “Pay Darren what is he worth” crap that really and I mean REALLY makes it look like this was a attempted shakedown. They just didn’t realize that AA is a stone-cold gangster, and just threw out the old, “Have fun in retirement… oh and don’t think two weeks into the season you can call and have your job back” line to boot.

          My bet? Oilver is in ST this year. Quietly. Avoiding the media to boot. Nobody throws away 3 million “because of kids”. He’ll be there.

    • This whole line of thinking is really just stupid.

      In your world, Oliver has 2 options:
      1) Play for 3M with the Jays
      2) Retire

      Since he would rather option 2 than option 1, it makes his decision easy. He goes with option 2 and the Jays get nothing. End of story.

      However, instead of just telling AA and the Jays to fuck off and he is in no way going to play, he gives them options 3 and 4 – pay more or trade to Texas. So, instead of the Jays having no ability to affect Oliver’s decision, they are given openings to make something happen if they wish. If they don’t (which appears to be the case, but who knows what is happening behind closed doors) then they are in the exact same situation as they were in before.

  2. What do you think we can realistically get back for oliver?

    • I can’t imagine even bothering to entertain the idea, frankly.

    • Hamilton’s old crack pipe. That thing will be worth a fortune on EBay. Or maybe Michael young’s Half of the best friends locket he shares with Vernon.

    • Is that Brandon Snyder kid any good? Bats right, potential platoon partner with lind? Just spitballing here, but Oliver + ? for Snyder. Maybe I shouldn’t be making this comment.

    • AA should just do what he did when the Red Sox wanted to trade for Farrell last year and ask for one of their top pitchers. Oliver for Darvish, please.

      And I love the Tommy Hottovy move. Poor chump must feel like a total pawn though

  3. So much for letting sleeping dogs lie.

  4. “Yes, we’re still on about this.”


  5. Hearing AA talk about it gave me the sense that AA wasn’t even planning on Oliver being there anyway – which is why the threat of retirement is weird. It was almost like “you’re still here?” I mean who wouldn’t want him back – but it seemed on its face that it wasn’t in the plan. Oliver is well within his rights to try to max his take home pay – but the whole thing seems a little badly planned on his agent’s part.. unless that second year was the difference between getting the deal or not.

  6. This is the most attention that has been paid to Oliver in his career.

    If he came back and Cordero’d you couldn’t really be shocked. It’s not like he’s in his 40′s and had shit seasons in the past or anything. A decent LOOGY is not that hard to find.

  7. Somebody give Paul Kilgus a call.

  8. For me the issue is more that his agent went to the press and took some weird stance about “paying him what he deserves”. That is very very different than having a drink with AA and saying “look it’s going to take a few more bones and we all win”.

    You can keep saying he has the right to do this. But we can keep saying AA has the right to pin him at 3m if he wants to play.

    I know some are taking this a little more personal at Oliver. With the team looking so exciting it is hard to hear of a guy already here wanting to renegotiate to throw 80 innings for us. Me I don’t take it personally, but I hesitate to up the money for a guy whose heart is clearly at home… and Toronto ain’t home.

  9. I say just pay the man.

    Doesn’t he project to be worth like 1.5 wins? If you’re a team that’s done so much work and spent so much money to be as close to contention on paper as this team is, what’s the harm in investing in 1.5 projected wins for an additional $1.5 million of what payroll presently stands at? Even if you count that as a $4.5 mil spike in payroll, it’s still worth it for the for a team that is vying for a title.

    I liked how AA didn’t outright commit to not doing that.

    • paying the man projects to be a bitch move so, AA won’t do it. Maybe he would’ve consider it before he blew his wad making a contender or before Oliver’s agent blew his wad pissing into the wind but the horse is out of the barn on this one and he ain’t coming back. Move on or move out.

      • Well put. Now if the fat bearded fuck would just shut up about this, instead of trying to convince us all to suck olivers balls to prevent him from retiring, we could all move on.

        By the way, cecil was just as effective vs. lefties last year. And he’s not 103 yrs old.

        • you’d rather see Cecil than Oliver pitching out of the pen next year? you truly are retarded.

        • How exactly was Cecil as effective? You mean judging by BA? When was Cecil in high leverage situations? Never. Look at the difference in what BR calls “Late and Close” i.e. in the 7th or later with the team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck. Oliver: 139 PA against, OPS of .520. Cecil: only 8 PA against, OPS (in SSS) of 1.339. You are okay with having Cecil replace Oliver??

          • If great leaders relied on facts, Churchill would’ve surrendered in 43 and we’d all be speaking German. Sometimes, you gotta let your nuts hang.
            The Jays can get it done with out sucking on some Black Magic.

          • 8 PA? Sounds like a reliable sample size to base an argument on.

  10. People goto different cities for money

    They don’t retire or play based on a 20% increase. If he’s comfortable retiring then he should retire and no reasonable amount of money should change that

    • Says who?

      • I just cant rationalize it.

        if he’s legitimately okay retiring, and being at home with his family, why would an additional 1 million dollars change that?

        If he wants to play in texas and be close to his family 50% of the time. that makes sense.

        but you retire for 3 million dollars, and retire from play for 4 million dollars? that doesn’t make any sense.

      • of course my big assumption is based on him wanting an extra million or so.

      • Dude, SHUT THE FUCK UP. SRSLY.

    • Apparently Oliver disproves that.

      Say a 64 year old banker was living in Prince George BC, and making $100,000. He is thinking about retirement. I would say it would not be unreasonable for him to talk to his boss and say – “If you want me to stay, pay me $120,000 / year , OR relocate me to the Kelowna Branch at a $100,000 salary or I’ll retire”

      • the major difference there is that most unlucky folk dont love their job. so most people cant wait to retire and not work.

        baseball and sports in general is a bit different, people usually overstay their welcome. thats a big difference in this scenario

        • This is exactly why fans have a huge problem comprehending all this, because no, it’s not really all that different at all.

          • of course its different.

            you are talking about the difference between working 20 years for retirement or roughly 45 years for retirement.

            Most baseball players retire because they’ve either lost their skill set, they cant get a job or want to be with their family. No one has ever said, I’m retiring because I want a 20 % raise.

            If you are comfortable retiring and leaving 3 million on the table, why wouldn’t you be comfortable retiring and leaving 4 million on the table?

      • Yeah and his employer would likely wish jim a happy retirement then.

      • Please, just stop with these shitty analogies.

  11. I can’t help but think this could have gone better for Oliver’s camp if he had just kept quiet and spoken only to Anthopoulos about it rather than going to the media. Maybe I’m wrong, but I could see the Jays playing hardball with Oliver to avoid setting any kind of precedent. To a lot of fans, giving in to Oliver’s demands would reflect poorly on the Jays. If this had just all been done behind closed doors the Jays could have made an announcement saying “We talked to Oliver about his intentions regarding retirement, and we’ve come to the mutual agreement to pay him $4.5 million for the upcoming season.” That would be it and we would all be happy to have him back, blissfully unaware of this apparently contentious decision on Oliver’s part.

    • Agreed entirely.

    • +1. However, Oliver’s incompetent agent blew it. AA will not give into these demands because it sets a Oliver precedent.

      The team will survive without Oliver.

      Who knows if he would give 100% if he came back anyway. He could just collect the money & not care.

      It is shocking that the jays have a better shot at the playoffs than the Rangers , yet he doesn’t care about a shot at a World Series Ring.

    • so true.

      his agent puting this into the public really took away a lot of options.

      if he quietly called AA and said listen, Darren is leaning heavily towards retirement, I know you want him back, i think if I had a bit more ammunition I could talk him out of it.

      Then AA could have saved face and just signed him to a 1 year contract extension with a 1 million dollar buy out. So he plays 2013 for the agreed 3 million but in 2014 the jays buy him out for a 1 million bucks and he retires.

  12. AA doesn’t give a fuck about oliver

  13. If it had gone on behind closed doors, as it should have and stuff like this usually does, it wouldn’t have even been a thing.

    That’s kind of the thing about it, because I have no idea why Frye would have gone public except in a desperate attempt to force Alex’s hand– which makes me think that the Jays simply weren’t taking the bait and Oliver and Frye were getting frustrated by that.

    Does it mean they negotiated in bad faith, though? I can’t possibly say I think it does. The Jays knew retirement was an option and willingly added the option year and frontloaded the deal in order to get the player. If they hadn’t, presumably someone else would have– because if no one else would have, the Jays wouldn’t have cave to such demands. So… where’s the bad faith? This didn’t look like a possibility from the outset? That the Jays willingly signed off on?

    People talk about the option like he’s taking away this sweetheart deal the Jays thought they had, as though it could have only been placed in the contract for that one reason. With retirement an acknowledged possibility and the deal frontloaded, doesn’t it kind of become something else? Quite obviously? A sort of mutual option, essentially, at a figure that seemed plausible enough at the time to both sides, in order to entice Oliver into pitching one more year, if they were both so inclined.

    By making the demand, assuming he’s actually serious about retiring, he’s essentially “opted out” of the contract. Which is fine. But he’s no more bound to the $3-million figure than the Jays are to cave to his demands and pay him more– he’s entirely within his rights to attempt to get more, and it’s silly to think that the Jays would have been blindsided by this in the slightest.

    • This line of argument always feels incomplete to me. Yes, the Jays were always fully aware that retirement was a strong possibility. But as such, the Blue Jays were willing to pay him above the market LAST YEAR under the agreement that if he DID choose to play this year, the Jays would have him for $3M. So while he has every right to walk away, demanding more money to play does indeed mean he negotiated in bad faith.

      • So while I understand your point that to avoid retirement, his current salary is not enough, I do feel that he should then simply retire. To try to demand more than you contractually agreed to TO YOUR BENEFIT makes you look bad.

      • Ahh, but it’s not a demand.

        Can’t you say that he HAS walked away, as is his right, but in doing so has made clear that he’d play if they wanted to pay him more than what was originally agreed upon? The ball is entirely in the club’s court, and they’re under no obligation whatsoever to accept his offer.

        Nor were they under any obligation to agree to pay him more up front– they could have said no, and presumably he could have gone to a club who would have. And especially with the possibility of retirement common knowledge, where’s the bad faith exactly?

        • I suppose you can say it… you could say that major league baseball is secretly controled by a malicious herd of Unicorns if you want too… Thing is neither of them are actually true. If Darren Oliver wants to be retired then he should hurry up and retire already so folk don’t have to contort themselves into pretzals to try and make what he’s doing seem like less of a dick move.

        • I suppose it falls entirely on where your assumptions lie with regards to Oliver’s true view of things and his true intent.

        • I’m with you Stoenten, but the one thing I continually see you write is ‘if you look at it as though he’s already retired’, or ‘look at it like a mutual option’. The problem of course being that he isn’t retired and the mutual option was decided upon when Oliver signed on the dotted line to a salary for 2013. Yes I could imagine a scenario where that potentially wouldn’t matter – but it doesn’t describe reality in this case. It looks as though AA agrees with this too because I can’t imagine he wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to have him back if this process didn’t seem to have crossed a line. I don’t blame Oliver for trying. I still think its rich that an agent could negotiate a deal one year and then call it below market value the next without seriously questioning his own competency. All of the situations that you describe that this one is almost like would have been better plays for Oliver to have made last year (mutual option, 1 year deal etc.)

        • Wake up fat bearded one. He wsmts to play for texas.

    • I agree with this. Nothing about this makes Oliver a bad person. I think the idea that somehow this is a mutual option is a little stretch though – considering they simply could have negotiated that in the first place instead of a “below market salary”. Again – it points to the strategy that his agent took last season being suspect.

      Its just a weird thing to do to say – I’m not intending to play next season (implicitly maybe..). And then threaten to retire at the end of that year. Other than as a weird way of letting it be known he *could* be willing to play for the right price it seems a little ad hoc – like a man who just realized he`d rather play another year at his previous salary than hang them up. As you noted, if this was done behind closed doors it would make a whole hell of a lot more sense, and probably would have been way more effective.

    • “I have no idea why Frye would have gone public except in a desperate attempt to force Alex’s hand”

      No here’s my thing… if Oliver is perfectly comfortable with retiring then why does anybody’s hand need forcing? My suspicion is that Oliver has no actual desire to retire at all he just doesn’t want to fulfill his contractual obligations to Toronto and (via his agent) is being a public tool about it.

    • The bad faith is that I cannot remember a single incident in the history of baseball of this happening … a player saying pay me or I’ll retire and the team caving. Thus there is no precedent of this being an option. The Jays had no reason to expect him to make this demand. They had every reason to expect him to play for the option, or retire.

      • You don’t remember it happening before because the circumstances are virtually unprecedented, not because it’s “bad faith” on its face. There are very few 42 year old MLB players who are clear retirement risks to any reasonable observer. Of those players, there are even fewer players who are actually sought after by other teams. Of those players there are even fewer players who have multi-year contracts. Of those players there are even fewer who excel in the middle of that multi-year contract..

    • “If it had gone on behind closed doors, as it should have and stuff like this usually does, it wouldn’t have even been a thing.”

      I love how you keep throwing that out there like its a fact. By your line of reasoning, you literally have no way of knowing whether or not this has ever happened before, much less that it “usually” happens a certain way.

      In fact, I would bet that this is situation may never have happened before. In order to know, we would have to mine contract data for decades. We need to look for players that got raises above the contract they were already signed to, or were traded to teams within their home state and played for the same money, the year before they retired. My bet is that you will find zero instances of this. If you do find any, I will conceed your point.

  14. The best way to settle this for all parties is to give him a raise of a couple hundred thousand dollars. Why, after all these moves would AA stop short now? This way, everyone is happy.

  15. Oh look its this thread again.

  16. I feel like this whole thing is missing something very important:

    Has this ever been done in baseball before?

    And by “this” I mean “renegotiate the remaining year on a contract.”

    If it has, I haven’t heard of it, but I would like to see what has been done in the past to weigh the reality of Oliver’s supposed desire to play if he’s paid more money. Even if the Jays thought it was a good idea, I don’t think that MLB rules would allow them to do it.

    • In 1991, the Jays voluntarily renegotiated the final *three* years of Stieb’s 11-year (!) deal, adding $4.35 million…

      No idea if this would be allowed under the terms of more recent CBAs or not.

      • that’s different. Stieb is a Boss and paid his dues helping making Toronto a relevant team. Oliver threw 60 fucking innings for a team that won 70 games? Jays don’t owe him shit, if he could’ve gotten more last year he would’ve been somewhere else. The Jays gave him a job at a price he found agreeable and he rewards them by playing this two-bit shakedown bullshit. Bye bye Oliver, you are retired.

      • I don’t see why you put “three” in quotes there. Stieb pitched out all of those years, and a few well after. He as not out of baseball for almost a decade after.

        This is not similar in any respect.

      • Thanks. That at least gives something slightly similar.from which to compare. I still think that most contract renegotiations in the past seemed to include additional years or options being added.

        If the Jays were to redo just the last year of Oliver’s deal, I think it would be the first time that has ever happened (at least on this CBA).

        Even if the Jays wanted to, I don’t think that MLB would ratify such a deal.

  17. I’m very sorry for Jason over at BP because he didn’t have a very good contracts professor. Contracts are indeed moral documents in which two parties agree to enforce behaviour through a litany of preexisting standards — in other words, they agree that to behave otherwise would be a breach of said standards, which is a working definition of morality. That’s no different than how we operate in day-to-day life. We have contracts to help enforce what society agrees is moral behaviour.

    Oliver agreed to either receive $ 3M or to retire. He is doing neither. Instead, he is threatening not to play if he is not paid more money (or traded). That’s not the same as retirement — at least as it was contemplated in the agreement with the Jays. But, you say, his retirement is predicated on his unhappiness with his contract and why can’t that be a reason for him to leave?

    Because the Jays made an assumed that Oliver would act in good faith — i.e. that when he said he didn’t want to play any more it would be based not on some retroactive feelings of discouragement about the deal he had negotiated, but on a legitimate desire to no longer pitch. It’s clear from his agent’s public comments that’s not the case. Therefore, he is acting in bad faith and breaching his contract.

    The Jays could probably take Oliver to court and win. But they’re not going to because it’s not worth the effort. You can argue the real world aspect of the thing as Andrew does — that this sort of horse-trading and deal-making goes on all the time behind closed doors. But legally and morally Oliver is in breach and in the wrong. I doubt very much he’s losing even one hour of sleep over it. Oh, and be careful when baseball writers dispense legal advice, even if they have been to law school.

    • Bingo or is it Bongo. +2

    • Please enlighten us as to the argument in court against Oliver.

      He has the right to retire, as you acknowledge.

      Does Oliver not also have the right to give the club the option of buying him out of retirement?

      Because for all the hysterics, that is what Oliver is offering.

      • No, he does not have the right to “give” the club the option of buying him out of retirement. He can retire and then come out of retirement, but a court might well find that he was attempting to avoid the terms of his contract (if he didn’t stay retired for very long), particularly because of his agent’s public statements (which I have to say weren’t very smart). In that instance there probably would be action taken by the Jays, or by MLB, because otherwise you’d have players “retiring” all the time just to get out of deals they didn’t like.

        • I’m not a lawyer and presumably you are somewhat familiar with this kind of subject matter.

          But, logically, it makes no sense that Oliver does not have the right to give the club the option of buying him out of retirement.

          Because this scenario has the potential to benefit management and ownership as well, obviously.

          And not just in the context of major league baseball.

          Put differently, does management have the option to entice Oliver out of retirement with more money?

        • First of all, employment contracts are treated unlike any other contract in courts because of the unusual balance of power in the employer/employee relationship. Secondly, professional sports contracts are even more unusual employment contract in that they are signed within the parameters of a collectively bargained agreement. There’s tons of things (e.g. restraint of trade) in a pro sports contract that would never fly in other circumstances in an ordinary court, but they are agreements within the environment of a CBA.

          That being said, there is no breach of contract here in any sense until Oliver doesn’t show up to Spring Training. Even then, the remedy collectively bargained for is that Oliver is placed on the restricted list and his salary is withheld. It’s literally impossible for Oliver to “breach” his contract. He either shows up and gets paid $3 million, or he doesn’t show up and he gets paid nothing.

          • If there’s a contract, you can breach it by violating its terms, full stop. There’s an assumption of good faith that should Oliver retire it’s out of a genuine desire to leave the game. If he “retires” and then signs with another club a day later, he would be sued. None of the provisions of the CBA would affect this.

            As for whether Oliver is in breach of contract now for asserting that he will retire unless paid more, the answer is yes. Oliver has demonstrated bad faith by stating that his “retirement” is just a means to increase his sale or force a trade.

            Are the Jays going to sue him? No, he’s not a sufficiently important player. Now if R.A. Dickey tried this… well, that would be a different story.

            Yes, the Jays (or any other club) could entice Oliver back to playing after retirement with money — but again only if he has legitimately retired. I’m sure this scenario has been examined by the courts, but I don’t know what the duration involved would be. Certainly I’d think you’d have to be out of the game for a season at a minimum.

    • This isn’t about breaching a contract. This is about using leverage created by an unusual set of circumstances to create a negotiated contract (key word: negotiated, i.e. one agreed to by both parties, not unilaterally imposed by one party on the other) replacing the original contract with one that is more favourable to the player, or failing that, absolving both parties of their obligations under the contract by turning to retirement. This is how the world works. We use leverage to put ourselves in better situations every day. 99.9% of the world (even the good majority of baseball players) isn’t in a position to have much leverage in negotiating their terms of employment. Oliver is fortunate to be in such a position, and is doing so.

      How can anybody say that a 42 year old professional athlete “not playing” is anything short of retirement? If he steps out of the game for any extended period of time, he’s done. He’s not coming back. We laugh when the Yankees dust the cobwebs off of Andy Pettitte every year and he’s a full 2 years younger than Oliver. Oliver “not playing” is retirement.

      Saying that the Jays could probably take Oliver to court and win certainly sounds very lawyerly of you, but think about what you’re saying. The Jays hold all the chips here if your assertion that Oliver is “choosing not to play.” Either he shows up to Dunedin in February and collects his $3 million, or Oliver doesn’t collect a dime. How is either scenario a “breach” of the contract in any sense or require any sort of court remedy? What exactly would the Jays take Oliver to court over? Certainly not to compel him to play for them. Are you suggesting that no player should be permitted to retire in the middle of a contract?

    • “But legally and morally Oliver is in breach and in the wrong.” – I don’t think. He would only have breached the contract if he did something other than retire or play for Toronto at the agreed upon salary, e.g. showed up in camp for another team like Texas. He has not yet done either of these things and presumably does not plan to do either of these things come spring training- so how is he in breach? The time for deciding whether to retire has not yet arrived. It might have been “bad form” maybe for his agent to put things in the way that he did ( or not) but- not a breach of contract.

      • He’s in breach by stating he will retire unless paid more. Contracts involve an ‘intent to be bound,’ and if you make it clear you are no longer honouring that intent, then you can be sued.

        The reason for this is to not allow the parties to use the POSSIBLE violation of the contract as a means by which they can rework it to their favour. Or in other words, exactly what’s happening here with Oliver.

  18. Trying to create a third option is what grinds people’s gears. Its not just “pay him more or he retires” – that ultimatum is palatable. It’s the Texas thing.

    • this. he doesn’t appear to want to be a Jay even though they are a very good team now.

    • Bingo. Why don’t u get it, stoeten?

      • Because there’s nothing to get? The fact that he would consider playing close to home in lieu of more money is completely reasonable.

        • if anything, its more reasonable then his raise request.

          • Then he shouldve signed there to begin with. Are you guys suggesting Texas didnt make him a competitive offer? I get it. You dont begrudge him for creating as much leverage, while taking as much money, while leaving as many options, as humanly possible…but WHAT IS WITH all the ball washing? Rogers is richer than he is? lol! Have another orange-crush.

  19. I’m tired of Oliver’s bs he has to make up his kind now this talk is getting tired

    • What do you mean make up his own kind?!?! I am offended that you are trying to make this a race thing. It has nothing to do with his own kind.

      Why don’t you take you racist views elsewhere! Can we please have this comment removed! I am outraged.

  20. I see both sides, but I think Im being swayed by the “bad faith” argument.

    Let me ask you this…..if Oliver agreed to the option without having any intention of playing for $3 million in 20!3n would that not be bad faith? Of course this woukd be impossible to prove, but my gut is thats what happened.

    He asked for above market psalary in year 1 and imied he would play for less i year 2 (by agreeing to an option). But if he never had any intention of playing in year 2 for that much (unless he sucked in 2012, but in that cSe, AA proba ly doesnt pick up the option anyways) then I believe it was a bad faith agreement.

    As many have said, no one begrudgez him his retirement. But if he is willing to play (which he is) then he should be bound by his agreement. He shouldnt have tried to get more money. Of course, it is his riht to try it. I just think its unseemly.

    • You may want to consult with baseball’s subject matter expert on ethics. He goes by the name of Jason Wojciechowski.

  21. If Oliver was available as a free agent, I think we can say with near certainty that AA would gladly sign him to a 1 year $4 million contract if not a little more to account for inflation.

    I mean, just look at the evidence. Oliver had another great season and AA has seen how good he can be in person.

    AA was willing to pay Oliver $4 million last year on a 500-ish “building” team.

    On a team in contention where every win is more important than it was last year, spending $4 million on Oliver is inherently a better investment.

    I understand AA’s position not to renegotiate and it’s a perfectly defensible stance.

    But there’s pretty strong evidence that AA would happily pay Oliver $4 million in 2013 and the only thing stopping him from improving the team is the current contract.

    • crickets.

    • No. 4M for a reliever in his 40′s whose heart is in Texas and who could “be injured” a month in and say “goodbye”? Sorry.

      And after all the money the Jays have spent, Rogers very well may be telling AA to let him go. We barely took Dickey at 5M – only because the Mets took Buck.

    • That’s not true. Last year, the Jays had a greater need for reliable veterans in the bullpen because they were going with such an unproven starting rotation. With the rotation they have this year, Oliver is much less necessary, and certainly worth less money to them. AA said already that if Oliver retires they’re not realocating the money to the bullpen. That tells you all you need to know about whether or not they would give him $4 mil or not on the free agent market.

      • This late in the offseason, that may be true.

        But your point about 60 elite reliever innings being more valuable in 2012 than 2013 is completely false.

        • Hence why I never said that. I didn’t say the innings were more valuable in 2012 than 2013. I said that Oliver was a necessity for them last year and thus worth more money to them last year than this year. Since signing Oliver, they have added 3 veteran starters and 5 relievers. He is more expendable now.

          • Well AA’s Saskatoon interview from today shows he disagrees with you.

            Considering where the Jays are on the win curve, no, Oliver was not more of a necessity last year.

            He is more of a necessity in 2013 where there are a lot of question marks in the bullpen of a contending team.

            It’s the same principal of a reliever like Soria being wasted on a non-contender like the Royals and how they wasted cashing him in.

  22. it looks like things will end up not working out for everyone. Oliver gets no more money and ends his career on a crappy note. the Jays have a weaker bull pen. Texas gets nothing. does an extra million really mean that much to you Oliver? or does he just not really give a shit about playing in 2013 or getting another shot to get a ring?

    • Since you admit Oliver retiring is lose-lose for both Oliver and the Jays, the flip side is that offering him maybe $4 million would be win-win for both Oliver and the Jays.

      As you say, it’s only another million which should mean less to billionaires like Rogers than a mere millionaire like Oliver.

  23. The agent involvement is the problem. As you note:

    That’s kind of the thing about it, because I have no idea why Frye would have gone public except in a desperate attempt to force Alex’s hand– which makes me think that the Jays simply weren’t taking the bait and Oliver and Frye were getting frustrated by that.

    People that are content to retire aren’t trying to force the GMs hand.

    • I think it’s pretty clear that retirement is Oliver’s third choice behind either playing in Toronto for more money or being traded to Texas.

      But his 3rd choice still supersedes his 4th choice which is playing in Toronto for $3 million apparently.

      • Okay…so what your saying is that it’s clear that Oliver’s preferences in order are:

        1. Play for $4.5 Million in Toronto
        2. Play for $3 Million in Texas
        3. Retire
        4. Play for $3 Million in Toronto

        Good thing his agent negotiated options 3 & 4 but not 1 & 2 15 months ago. That was a great job.

        • Presumably option 1 & 2 were not available 15 months ago.

        • @Mark

          The Jays might agree now because Oliver clearly improves their team?

          And because he is inherently more valuable on a contender than he was on last year’s team.

  24. People are saying that just pay him the extra 1 million dollars. But is anyone sure that’s all he wants? I thought Jeff Frye used language like he needs to be paid considerably more, what he’s worth. Why are people assuming it’d just take an extra 1 or 1.5 million?

    • It’s not an extra 1M – it’s 4M. If he walks they pay zero. To keep him costs (say) 4M. The Jays are tapped out. Rogers will happily save the 4M.

  25. Have we not thoroughly covered this already? Please, please, let’s move on.

    • Yes let’s complain about Adam Lind more

      • Remember when all we had to talk about this time of year was prospects and all the trades the Jays were rumoured to be in but just missed out on?

        • @ Tom W

          I do. And this is just as boring and unrewarding. Some people think Oliver was skeevy. Some don’t. AA didn’t seem to go for his proposal. It’s all good.

  26. Just wondering.
    Am I the only one who is mildly offended by Mr Wojciechowski holding court over the DJF commenters?
    To me,the debate, with the pros and cons being discussed in an unmoderated open forum, allow for me, the reader, to arrive at my own conclusions.
    While Mr W is certainly entitled to form his opinion based upon his expertise in contract law,his is just that ,an opinion.One he obviously thinks is superior to those at DJF.
    I didn’t know that comments,rational,irrational,sane,insane,inane,right,wrong,funny,serious would be held up to scrutiny and disected by no less than the prestigious Baseball Prospectus.
    Thanks Mr.Woj, for letting us know “this position does not hold”,for grouping all commenters opinions together on this issue and correcting our misguided thoughts.
    Silly me, I thought this was a baseball blog to express my ideas.
    Thank God, Jason Wojciechowski was there to help me find my way,

    • I’ve already added him to my ‘Dead to Me’ list.

      • Tom.
        Your comment is being judged at this moment.
        Mr W will contact you and advise you of it’s validity.
        Should it be judged worthy,you will be allowed, for one time and one time only, to kiss the feet of Mr.W.No licking permitted.
        When you arrive may at your convenience,sacrifice a small goat,in celebration of the glorious occasion.
        Mr W appreciates your cooperation in this matter.
        Thank you in advance.

      • +1

        Fuck Mr W


  27. I’m in the who gives a shit camp.

    We/you/us, the DJF classy assholes (or classholes if you prefer the vernacular) I feel out argued Jays 2010, Brumfield, Stoeten and his minions on this point weeks ago.

    Lets move on and set up wager pools on first dinger, swipe, blown stop sign, and Gibby beatdown of 2013.

    I’m going way off the board with a 10 dollar bet that says Joey Bats hits our first homerun.

    • I’ll go with the obvious.
      I’l take the bet too.$10 says Bautista isn’t the first to hit a dinger.

      • Nice picks.
        I guess winner on the homerun bet gets half a cup of beer in the dome.
        I wish AA’s last Ninja move of the off season was to trade Adam Lind to the Brewers for 50,000 Litres of Lager and offering a Litre to each fan at the home opener. — Screw the Bobble Heads-Best Promotion Ever.

        • 50,000 litres of lager from the beer capitol of the USA,
          In exchange for Lind?
          Beer never tasted so good.
          Wish I could still get old formula Schlitz.

      • 1st dinger- Reyes opening day lead off at bat
        swipe- Lawrie
        stop sign- Lawrie
        Gibby beatdown- Rasmus
        Gold Glove- Beuhrle

        • I like it, every poster from here on has to add their own new category with their picks….

          I’m adding:
          Jay Most Likely to get a cold sore.

          I’m picking Brett Lawrie to be looking up George Pulis for a tube of ABreva, maybe even penecillin. I hear the kids a master swordsman.

    • First Dinger: Lind
      First Swipe: Reyes
      Blown Stop Sign: Rasmus
      Gibby Beat Down: Lind

      First Injury: lind

  28. Im withya. Talk about beating a dead horse

    Who did the Mariners send to Arizona for Upton?

    • Ken Rosenthal of reports that the Mariners offered one of Danny Hultzen, James Paxton or Taijuan Walker, plus Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor to the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton.

  29. The argument that Oliver front-loaded his salary in 2012 in “bad faith” is an insult to AA’s intelligence by suggesting that the Jays were blind to this possibility. If Oliver was plotting this scheme from the day he signed the contract, he would have just signed a 1 year deal and made himself a FA this year. The option did exactly what AA wanted it to, regardless of how the money was allocated. It put the Jays in the driver’s seat for Oliver’s services in 2013. If it was a 1-year deal, there’s probably close to a 0% chance of seeing Oliver in a Jays uniform in 2013. The option at least gave the Jays a legit possibility of having Oliver on the team this year.

  30. Once again stoeten makes up facts to justify a bizarre conclusion. Nothing stoeten says makes any sense. He says both sides knew oliver was going to retire. says who? It’s more likely oliver misled alex into believing he would play 2 more years to justify frontloading the contract. Do you think alex is that stupid to give a 2 year deal to a guy who’s retiring after 1?

    And stoeten keeps assuming that oliver IS retired. He’s not. He hasn’t filed any papers yet. He’s simply using it as a THREAT to get more money. That’s what makes him a scumbag. He’s simply bluffing. If I’m a betting man oliver will show up at spring to collect his 3 mil. There’s no way he gives that up. He plays 1 more year and maybe he get 5 mil in 2014.

    If oliver wants to retire then stfu and file your papers already. The fact that he’s waiting so long tells you he’s coming back.

  31. I vote we post another 200 comments arguing about whether Stoeten is wrong or not.

    • Right???

      • Ahhhhhhh, you got us you clever bastard.
        This was just a page hit grab. You knew the influx of infuriated, inebriated-idiots would reply ad naseum and get your page hits up to the point where you’re earning fat stacks from advertisement dollars.

        You clever page-hit whore.
        I wish I was clever instead of incredibly good looking.

        • Stoeten needs those fat stacks to get laid, bro. Hookers cost money. Fat, bearded annoying fucks like him don’t get laid for free.

          • jeebus: fuck off with that crap…baseball buddy, baseball, that’s why we show up here.

          • @ Dave

            + a million

            Jeebus, at least Andrew has the balls to put his face and name on his opinions and defends them openly for all to see, rather than hiding behind an alias to personally attack people.

        • bahahaha thats gold Smasher

    • Billions and Billions…..

  32. There’s nothing wrong with reopening a round of negotiations just because he can. Some would even say – believe it or not – it’d be irresponsible NOT to make the attempt while he has this rare moment of leverage going on. He’s only saying words. What makes it not unethical is that nobody HAS to pay Oliver any attention on this if they don’t want to. He’s allowed to say, ‘I don’t know, I don’t think I’ll come back for this last year, thought I might when I signed it but … now, not so much. Unless of course, the pot was sweetened up a bit. Then maybe I’d go another season up there in Toronto’. There’s nothing wrong with saying any of that.

    If there’s a negotiating 101 handbook it’d suggest that next, it’d be AA’s job to say ‘no, I don’t think we’ll add anything to the deal.’

    If it continued along in classic negotiating fashion it’ll go back and forth like that for a while, and eventually, down the road, what’ll be said behind closed doors near the end of it all is along the lines of, ‘you thieving bastard! You signed the contract and a deal’s a deal! The board will NEVER agree to another cent and there’s no way I could ever even ask them so forget about it and just LEAVE this office! Enjoy your damned retirement! (As he’s about to open the door to leave) ‘but … just in CASE I could get the board to listen for a moment and it’s-not-really-possible-I-shouldn’t-even-be-saying-this but … just in case … … what’s the absolute lowest number you think you might be able to live with?’

    It’s not personal, it’s just what it is. Business.

  33. i dunno…really don’t give two shits either way. if DO was coming back (under the terms of his deal, without all this hoopla), i’d surely (and obviously) be happier about the jays’ ‘pen.

    but…that’s not the current reality. instead, we’re looking at a 42-yr old who has the opportunity to fulfill his current contractual obligations while being a key component (albeit, ‘just’ a LOOGY) on a WS contender…and his stance is ‘meh, i’d like to make a bit more $$ to play for you.’ i’m just not sure how comfy i feel renegotiating a 42-yr old specialist’s deal (even if it is to pay him fair value, although that argument has gotten a bit hyperbolic – given his age & specialist status, it’s not as though he’s SEVERELY underpaid at $3M) when his ONLY interest in playing for the team is $$. i just figure that given his LAST experience in the WS, he’d be more amped about ending his career on a high note.

    • With the Jays as close to being considered a possible contender as they are right now, it’s too easy for Oliver to take a shot at getting a few more dollars into his bank account if he can. It doesn’t cost him anything to try. Both sides probably knew a long time ago that exactly this was gonna happen. And being that we’d all like to know he’s there in the pen when we’d be needing him, including of course, AA and Beeston, I’d wager the conversation will continue, maybe even up to the last possible moment … and (I’ll guess) they’ll give him half of the original 1.5 (it sounded like) he asked for. That’d be the usual conclusion for these kinds of things. Personally, I’d be happy to give him an extra 750 to keep his arm in there for another season.

  34. The douche Justin Upton rejected the deal to the Mariners as they along with the Blue Jays are on his 4 team no-trade llist.

    The guy is a moron…

    • why is that exactly?

      arizona gave a young star an extension with a 4 team no trade list, then try to trade him to one of those 4 teams.

      first off, the fact that they are trying to move him is ridiculous. secondly, they should have asked him if he would goto seattle before they opened serious dialogue.

      I’m pretty sure you didn’t roy halladay a moron or douche when he gave AA all but 2 teams he would approve a trade to

    • Isn’t the NO Trade thin g often just used as (dare I say it) leverage to negotiate a sweetening of the pot for the player from the team trying to acquire him? I remember reading this somewhere a while ago. That teams were putting the most likely cities on their list just to see if they could get $$.

  35. The piece of this story that I genuinely don’t understand is the fact that a trade is not a realistic possibility. No one anywhere thinks the Rangers would consider giving anything up for Oliver in a trade. Why is that?

    Isn’t a year of Oliver pretty damn valuable? Jays fans are obviously worked up about the prospect of losing it. Why wouldn’t the Rangers be worked up about the prospect of gaining it?

    I don’t understand how it would be different than any other trade for a year of someone’s services. Except, of course, in this case you’d be trading for a guy who has posted a consistently improving, sub-3.00 ERA in his last five seasons, during which time accumulating a total of 8.4 WAR out of the bullpen.

    Context of this matter aside, I’d be pretty happy if the Jays obtained someone like that for the bullpen via trade. Don’t understand why the Rangers wouldn’t feel the same.

    • rangers obviously dont value oliver as highly as AA does.

      We all assume texas could have had him for cheaper or atleast on the same contract we got him for a year ago, and they didn’t offer it to him .

      So if they didn’t take him on as a free agent for the same price a year ago, doesn’t seem likely that they would give anything up of value for him now

    • I think you over-estimate Oliver’s worth. As good as his numbers have been, whoever trades for him will be trading for 1-yr @ $3 million for 65 innings in the middle of the bullpen. What’s that worth?

      1. It’s not worth any low-cost good player that the team would have multiple years of control over. So eliminate all good prospects and arb-eligible players.
      2. It’s not worth a position player or rotation pitcher.
      3. It’s not worth any veteran bench player or bullpen arm whose value/cost ratio is good and is signed for multiple years.

      So what does that leave you? The best the Rangers could do is offer the Jays a non-prospect minor league player, an over-paid veteran with multiple years left on his deal, or a veteran bullpen piece with one year left on his deal (i.e. Darren Oliver).

      So why exactly would the Jays make that deal? The best they could do is get back what they have already.

  36. Oliver will not be a Jay in 2013. AA is not reopening his contract.

  37. There’s a general misunderstanding here of what constitutes a contract — but for that matter, Jason at BP doesn’t understand that, either. If you sign a contract and then make (or have your representatives make) public statements to the effect that you’re not going to fulfill that contract unless you receive more money, you’re potentially in breach. There’s no option to renegotiate a contract if you feel like it, it doesn’t matter how much leverage you think you may or may not have. Now you can request that the contract be reopened and your partner may or may not agree to that, but again that’s not what happened here.

    That said, it’s possible that if Oliver just dropped the whole thing and showed up at spring training he could argue that it was all a misunderstanding, but the club might still have a case. People get taken to court for violating contracts based on their public statements all the time. That’s, ahem, part of what got Rob Ford in trouble.

    It’s a hypothetical, however, because a lawsuit would be costly and to no purpose given Oliver’s age and clear reluctance to play (unless paid). So while he’s technically in breach he’s unlikely to suffer for it because that’s the way the world works.

    But if the question is whether he’s violating his contract, the answer is yes.

    • As listed above, I don’t understand how a small raise would stop someone from retiring… but at the same time, I really don’t see how he’s violating anything..

      If he’s truly comfortable retiring, he has leverage and is using it to his advantage. An option year, isn’t a guarantee, and therefore by that definition, either is the money

      CC sabathia opted out of his contract, after a good year, elected free agency and was signed to an extension. I don’t see how this situation (from a violation/dirtbag, greed standpoint) is any different.

      The thing i dont get is CC opted out to either get more money from the yankees or play somewhere else, which i get. I just don’t get the, pay me more money or I won’t play at all.

      • uh, am i missing something?

        the contract oliver signed had a club option for 2013. this was not a secret.

        the club exercised the option, thereby guaranteeing oliver that money (as long as he doesn’t, y’know, retire).

        CC opted out because that was what was written into his contract (i.e. a player option).

    • @DW

      Nowhere in the contract does it state Oliver cannot retire and/or offer the Jays a chance to buy him out of retirement.

      If you can actually provide some evidence instead of making holier than thou claims, it would be appreciated.

      • A court wouldn’t consider that ploy a retirement in good faith, just an effort to force the Jays to renegotiate the terms of the agreement to Oliver’s advantage. There’s nothing holier-than-thou about it, it’s just contract law.

        As I said above, you can’t just “retire” and then renegotiate because you made a bad deal in the first place. If you could we’d be seeing “retirements” from players all over the place in the off-season, all angling to up their price. And as I said, MLB would never allow that to happen.

        • “If you could we’d be seeing “retirements” from players all over the place in the off-season, all angling to up their price.”


          Oliver is in a very unique situation considering his age and, if we take him at his word, will retire over playing in Toronto for $3 million.

          This is really only something that can be done at the end of a player’s career. Something which many people fail to acknowledge.

  38. If Oliver wants to play in Texas at this point all he needs to do is accept the option from the Jays.

    I get the feeling that the Jays would rather not dish out 3 Million more dollars to anyone let alone a malcontent that would be playing in high leverage situations.

    If he accepts, he has established his contract and then the Rangers will know what he is to be paid. Bear in mind that the Rangers may not trade for him until he is ‘cheap’. With out a contract acceptance they are taking on the risk that he ‘retires’ on them.

    3 Million is 3 million and I predict he accepts the option and the Jays ship him out very shortly thereafter. He definitely won’t be playing for them again. This way everyone saves face.

    • @kerrupt

      Of course the Rangers know his price is 3mill. Its a club option to exercise, his price has always been set if he were to be traded

      You make it sound like he may get some raise and then be traded. He has made it very clear he will play for Texas at 3mill just not Toronto

      • He may get traded and then demand a raise just like he is doing with the Jays. Which is why anyone should be hesitant to pick him up.

        He has never made it clear that he would play for Texas for $3MM. He has stated he would play for less there. The going rate for a late inning lefty seems to be closer to $6-7MM this year than the $4-4.5MM everyone is throwing around. He stated he wanted the going rate from the Jays and less from the Rangers.

        Less may still constitute a raise.

  39. Notwithstanding the VERY-Overplayed debate over the morality/legality of Oli’s situation (seriously can we just refrain from commenting about this until something actually happens, I feel like my brain is rotting reading basically the same comments over and over again) what at options are out there wrt the RHB infielder AA was talking about.

    Mike Morse would be real sexy if Olivers 3 mill+some extra could be diverted there. I expect he’s too expensive an option as, he made 3.7 last year and likely wants a raise.

    Does anyone have a link to the remaining FA’s?

    • Just saw Morse is still under contract w/nats for 6.75. I guess he’s probably not an option.

      • He never was. AA can’t negotiate a deal with Nats even if he includes a raise because Oliver may just reneg on the agreement again by retiring because he doesn’t want to be in Washington.

        Such is the problem when you negotiate in bad faith. It’s hard for people to fill your demands even if they want to.

  40. The preponderance of space spent discussing this situation on this blog has been devoted to criticizing/deconstructing the reaction of Jays fans to Oliver’s gambit. I’m much more interested in seeing a stated position on what the Jays should do in response. I don’t think there is any defensible choice other than to let Oliver retire. The loss of credibility entailed in renegotiating or accepting a poor return from Texas is certainly pertinent here. Moreover, it seems like every offseason we forget that paying relievers is stupid. Bidding against yourself for a reliever is crazy, especially when the team already has Happ, Cecil, Loup and Delabar, who the new manager hopefully realizes is primarily a lefty specialist. Debating the morality of the situation is just navel-gazing. Oliver has a right to use retirement as a bargaining chip, and also has an obligation to do so unless he wishes to play under his existing contract. Is anyone seriously disputing this?

    • Yes, I am. Oliver has no right to use retirement as a bargaining chip to get a raise because:

      1. He may not even be underpaid for 2013. Time will tell what his performance will be worth.

      2. He’s under contract.

      3. He negotiated that contract recently and knew what he was signing to when he did.

      4. There is no precedent for what he is attempting.

      I could careless about how immoral this is (which it is), the fact is he has no legal or business ‘right’ to do this.

  41. dammit. i was hoping for a half decent return from texas

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