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In the wake of his agreement– finally– to avoid retirement one more year, after the Jays exercised their contract option on him early in the off-season, Darren Oliver spoke on a conference call this evening with reporters, and also chatted briefly with Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt on the Fan 590‘s Prime Time Sports.

“When that article came out, actually I wasn’t even in town,” he said on PTS, after Brunt decided to go ahead and make mention of the elephant in the room. Which is true, as it was reported at the time the Oliver was on vacation. “I knew I was going to get blown up,” he continued. “I thought, ‘aww, man, that’s not good right there,’ becuase I didn’t even say it. I don’t think there was anything in that quote that said, ‘Darren Oliver said he demands more money.’ ”

Pressed on it he explained, “I think… obviously he might have said something to one of the media outlets that reported it… maybe he just… I don’t know why he said that. I mean, I wish I would have known he was going to say it, because I probably would have stopped him.”

“In house,” he continued, after his cell was breaking up a little, “that’s kind of where I’d do things. But, sometimes people do stuff and… he made a mistake. I’ve known the guy for twenty years, he definitely wasn’t trying to hurt me in any way, he was just trying to do what’s best for his client.”

“So, you haven’t fired him, you’ve forgiven him, right?” McCown asked, to which Oliver clearly and firmly replied, “I haven’t fired him.”

“What really started the ball rolling was when Alex and his right-hand man Perry Minasian came out in early December and took my wife and I out to dinner. And really, they didn’t really need to convince me, but they kind of needed to convince the wife.”

As we can see from the live tweeting that Mike Wilner did, this is essentially what he said during the media conference– and really, what the hell else was he going to say?:

Anthopoulos also offered some new information, mostly on the composition of the bullpen:

Interestingly there’s no mention of Brett Cecil here, though he’s out of options as well, as we can see from the excellent piece of work that was posted at Bluebird Banter back a couple weeks ago.

There’s also this:

I guess I get the organizational need thing, but still, this is a little bit surprising. Especially seeing how, y’know, Brad Lincoln pretty much sucked as a starter in Pittsburgh.

He’s thrown 65.2 innings as a starter over the last two seasons, working with a fastball that sits around 92, plus a curve and change, and putting up a 4.93 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 4.22 xFIP, and just 0.3 fWAR. In 70 innings as a reliever over the same span, he’s ditched the change-up and been able to push his fastball velocity up to 93.6, which in combination with the fact that he isn’t being asked to turn lineups over has produced success to the tune of a 3.21 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 3.20 xFIP, and 0.5 fWAR.

Of course, Anthopoulos is right that he doesn’t need to stay a starter, even if he seems on track to begin the year as one. And it will be a lot easier to make this transition than it would the other way around. So… I get it. And I still think it would be very surprising if he ever starts in the Majors again, unless they get really, terrifyingly, 2012-style desperate.

But let’s forget all that. Darren Oliver is back!


Image via Mop Up Duty, acid washed jeans.

Comments (79)

  1. Water on the bridge.
    Lets play ball.

    Go Jays!

  2. (whip sound)

    Brad Lincoln as a “seventh starter.” May sound bad to him, but I think the Jasy chewed through about 10 last season. I think we’ll see quite a bit of him.

    Plus, I think Lincoln would be a better long man than Esmil.

  3. Oliver’s explanation makes sense to me.

  4. bridge over troubled water. let’s play ball.

  5. Seems like Darren is trying to pull Jeffs ass out of the Fryer. Wah Wah

  6. Christ Cecil and Lind are on this team?

  7. Did i miss something bc i dont get the frye reference…

  8. It all sounds good to me…….gawd I can’t wait for spring!

  9. Everytime I read anything about brad Lincoln I get repissed about that stupid ass trade.

    • Snider is out of options, and without some injury to someone, he wasn’t making this team, so he’d have been lost on waivers anyway.

      • I got that reasoning and there’s no sense in talking about it again.

        But let’s not forget Adam lind is still on the team. Brad Lincoln was pretty ineffective in his sss at the end of the year

        Nevertheless nit picking after the offseason aa just had

    • Who gives two SHITS about Travis Snider. LOL, move on bruh.

      • Lots of people give two SHITS about Travis Snider. Then there are some people who don’t give two SHITS about anything that happened more than 5 minutes ago. Because they’ve moved on, bruh. LOL!

        Unfortunately, there are some people over 9 years of age who were baseball fans, Blue Jays fans, when Snider was drafted, and followed his career, gave several or at least more than two SHITS about him, and wish things had turned out differently. You know, the sort of people who remember things that players actually do on the field in games, good or bad, thrill of victory or agony of defeat, and who don’t forget about them because they happened last week or last year or many years before your mother was born.

        Baseball is played by people not machines. They aren’t reducible to “he’s great” or “he sucks.” Ask your shiny new hero Dickie what failure is like. Maybe you might learn something, but probably not.

        But for your sake, and the sake of your miniscule cretinoid attention span, I’m glad you’ve fucking moved on, bruh. I just wish you’d move on a little farther. Then we won’t have to hear you and all your LOLing.

        • I agree with Riggs, move on, the guy played 240 some odd games for the Jays, and he was hurt/sucky for most of them. Othen than being the youngest Jay to hit 2 home runs in a game, and 2 doubles in an inning, he’ll be a distant memory in the not too distant future.

          “But for your sake, and the sake of your miniscule cretinoid attention span, I’m glad you’ve fucking moved on, bruh. I just wish you’d move on a little farther. Then we won’t have to hear you and all your LOLing.”

          Try not to talk to too many people sitting so high up in your tree, it makes you look like a pompous ass. Cretinoid MAY sound smart to you, but looks dumb to everyone else. Also, it’s FURTHER, not Farther

        • I hear Ithaca’s nice this time of year.

        • Hahahahaha dude I’ve been around for all of that, this and the other things…this is an internet comment section. Stop taking your life so seriously. Like my man J2thaAMES said, get off your fucking high horse. Cry some more.

      • I like to remember how this team was built, Travis Snider is part of the history that built this team. Even if the piece we added by trading him was Lincoln, his trade signified the start of change in Toronto.

        I also give two shits about Travis Snider. Do I want him on my team? No sir I do not. Do I still follow Pittsburgh boxscores to check his line out? yes I do (right after I check my fantasy stud MCutchen)

    • Yeah, I really miss Snider and the .652 OPS he put up after he left. It’s awful that we traded Snider and opened up a spot for a guy like Melky. Lincoln wasn’t stellar with the Jays, but how do you judge a guy on 28 innings. He was very good in the previous 55 innings with the pittsburg last year.

    • I’d rather have the NL batting champion that the AL strikeout champion.

  10. This explanation makes sense. Water under the bridge. Glad to see he’ll be back.

    Fuck I can’t wait for spring training!

  11. IIRC, AA said earlier in the winter that Brett Cecil has to “make” the team.

    But considering he is out of options, one would have to think he has a leg up on Aaron Loup as the team’s LOOGY.

    And Cecil has a decent track record of getting lefties out. His velocity may improve with Delabar’s throwing program and working out of the ‘pen.

    He should be solid in this role.

    • Yeah I’m a bit tired of Cecil’s remakes, but I cant wait to see how the “program” works for him.

    • Cecil’s velocity did in fact improve in the ‘pen (regularly 93-ish), and I heard he’s on the same velocity program that worked wonders for Steve Delabar. And as you said, he was always decent against lefties. But with his velocity up where it was in 2010, that should improve the effectiveness of his change against righties, too.

      I think the logic of Cecil making the team – aside from him being out of options – is that he’s a good candidate to be a passable middle reliever – kind of somewhere between a Villaneuva-lite and a Jesse Litsch-plus. And if he crashes and burns, no big loss.

  12. Great Grand, lets fast forward to Feb 16 already..

  13. Rather see lincoln in the pen helping the team win than waiting in the wings. Put happ down if it has to be anyone.

    • Happ has a longer and better track record as a starter. Plus, he’s the perfect Ricky Romero backup plan (lefty for lefty). I think people here are way too low on him as a long reliever/6th starter. A lot of teams have worse pitchers than Happ in their 4 and 5 spots.

      • Happ can still be the 6th starter waiting in the wings in AAA.

        The Nats did the same with John Lannan last year.

        I guess if Happ isn’t one of the 7 best bullpen options, and he may very well not be, it might make sense to stash him in Buffalo.

    • The plan is for both. Bullpen is getting full with Santos, Janssen, Oliver, Rogers, Delabar and a LOOGY. Probably makes more sense to keep Jeffress.

      • Jeffress will have to impress the hell out of the coaching staff to make the team. He has a dynamite arm but can he throw strikes?

        It does make more sense to keep Jeffress as he would otherwise get exposed on a waiver claim and would likely get picked up by an opposing GM.

        But like Cecil, he has to make the team out of spring and by that, he needs to earn his spot.

      • I agree there – why would the Jays even want to try Happ in long relief when he’s consistently sucked at that role? Better have him starting in Buffalo regularly so he’s ready to go when someone in the rotation goes down. And who knows, he may even get a little better.

        I’d keep Loup as the LOOGY. Heck, he could even get two outs.

  14. Part of an agent’s job is to take heat for his/her client, sometimes. Wonder if sometimes is this time.

    • Definitely. No way an agent makes a play like he did without the clients knowledge.

      • it’s a pretty damn big bullet to take for his client though. he will possibly never represent a significant player again after his total failure at public negotiation.

        also if he was dumb enough to try and go public against AA then he could be dumb enough to make a move like this without Oliver’s consent. I think the likely situation is somewhere in the middle. maybe Oliver suggested he wanted more money or wanted to go to texas but the agent went all out before Oliver gave the green light.

        • Just throwing this out cuz i’m not sure I buy it but what if it was a trial balloon thing? Frye was designated to go public and threaten retirement and if AA didnt bite, Oliver would ride in and rescue the situation.

        • I’d like to play a hand or two of poker against Jeff Frye. But then again, I’ll bet that a lot of guys have beat me to that, as he’s pretty much broadcasted his incompetence at bluffing across the entire known universe.

      • Definitely? Really are you sure you know what happened between these people you have never met? Like you’re positive?

  15. Frye was definitely shown that he’s still a rookie at this Agent gig.

  16. The real question is, what did D.O. think of the Oliver Twist photoshop?

    And yes, except for the continuing existence of Lind everything is peaches and cream.

  17. Ohhhh man. That just made my night. Dad defying the laws of clothes and wearing a nasty pair of Levi 605s 10 years after they were in fashion.

    I don’t even remember this, but kudos to Kelly for semi chopping the Pickering waterfall.

  18. Ok lets put Wilner back in the tool drawer now.

    • file him under dull hardly used tools. You know…something like that stubby 3/16th only used for tight plumbing jobs or changing a battery.

  19. As I said before, fuck anyone under contract with the Jays and doesn’t want to play for the team.

  20. I am happy that Oliver decided to return to the Jays for 2013.

    His agent is incompetent for publicly making the demands that Oliver will play in Toronto for 4.5 million but 3 million in Texas. It destroyed the “family issues” excuse.

    If Oliver was desperate to return to Texas for family issues, he should have gone privately to AA & explained the situation.

    A trade with Texas or Astros could have been arranged without AA having to give up Oliver for nothing.

    It was odd

    • Exactly for once I agree with oakville

      • @jays2013

        +1. small steps.

        My anger at Rogers has subsided. The Jays are the best managed sports team in Toronto after watching the Leafs fire Burke with horrible timing, MLSE canning coaches every year with TFC & the Raptors not doing much. It’s funny that Rogers now owns part of MLSE.

      • too bad its not the real oakville69.

  21. Thanks to @gideonturk for this:


  22. Reading between the lines here, it looks like AA is telegraphing to us that barring a trade or something like that, because of the option position of people like Rogers, ( i.e. they don’t have any) then Lincoln WIll start the year in Buffalo as a starter.

    AA may not be finished tinkering with the bullpen despite the Oliver comeback ( Farnsworth perhaps?) and Lincoln himself may very well figure in said trade perhaps to a team like Milwaukee which is desperately trying to build up it’s pitching staff again.
    Still has til the end of Jan to make modifications before we will know that he is done as he himself has said he does not like to make changes once Feb arrives. ( still could do it of course but prob is much lower).

    • Hmm. It could be partly because Lincoln leans pretty heavily on his 94mph fastball because he can’t get people out with his changeup. It might be worth trying to turn him into a multi-inning reliever. At the very least, getting him to work on his changeup won’t make him a worse pitcher, and there’s no question that’s one of the most effective pitches in the AL.

  23. I just pray they don’t get too out of control with the ‘options’ based decisions this year. No point in going all-in acquiring guys if you’re not going to fill every position on the roster with the best man for the job regardless of contract status.

  24. Wow, Oliver is back! AA called Frye’s bluff and everyone now realizes that $3M is better than $0M. Perhaps these events are enough to convince Jeff Frye that being an agent may not be his best career choice. He is unfit to play in the big leagues.

  25. Is it just me, or is Darren Oliver throwing everyone else under the bus here and not accepting any of the blame for this whole debaucle?

  26. Oliver wouldn’t fire his agent. They are friends. It’s more than a business partnership in that respect. He stood up for him in the interview.

  27. AA is such a fucking god. Makes a tentative deal for Dickey and is in his hotel 20 minutes later and spends like 8 hours with the guy. What’s Dickey going to do? Start negotiating numbers after all that? Oliver might want to retire… so AA takes him and the wife to dinner and handles her.

  28. i hope they’re not considering ditching cecil.

    its too bad he couldn’t keep up with the starting role, but there’s still enough there to make him a decent reliever. wish we had been able to hold on to villan for that reason as well.

    still….glad we have oliver! and if santos can step in and be the guy he was advertised to be…well…then suddenly the bullpen looks fairly mighty actually.

    and let’s not forget that as Hutch and Draybek rebuild there is always the chance that they can join in on the late season, in reliever roles if need be or otherwise.

    the depth is looking much stronger than it ever has!!

    • I don’t think we’ll see Drabek or Hutch in the rotation this season, though. I’d be surprised if they both make our rotation ever again. TJ surgeries take time to recover from, and guys are usually inconsistent for their first year back.

      Hutch delayed surgery until late in the season and Drabek was inconsistent to begin with, so I think it will be mid-2014 before they’re back, and beginning of 2015 before they’re really back to where they were, whatever that was.

  29. Glad to see Oliver back for another year. He was the most consistant pitcher the Jays had last year. As for the tactic of asking for more money or retiring or being traded to Texas, I am not concerned about that one bit. Retirement is something any pro athlete would consider at his age, and if the Jays hadn’t made the moves that they made in the off-season, I would’ve expected him to retire. Texas is where Oliver makes his home, so it wasn’t like he was wanting to get out of Toronto, but more like he wanted to be with his family at home. As for the asking of more money, I would expect that this happens fairly often where players try to renegotiate their contract, but it usually doesn’t get leaked out to the media. The Jays decided to excercise their option during the offseason, so there was a period of time where he wouldn’t have known whether the Jays even wanted him for another season. If he hadn’t pitched as well as he did last year, the Jays most likely would not have picked up the option for this coming season. Some players hold out and don’t play even though they are under contract. Oliver did no such thing. All he did was do the smart thing in taking his time to make the right decision.
    Lots to look forward to this upcoming season. Go Jays Go!

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