Archive for the ‘Black Magic’ Category

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.”

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Well here’s a real Darren Oliver twist: per a team release, the man who calls himself Black Magic will return to the Jays for the 2013 season, electing to play for the mere pittance that is the $3-million club option the Jays exercised early in the off-season.

You could say it’s a surprising turn of events, given the bluster over the recent few weeks from his agent, ex-Jay Jeff Frye, but on the other hand, given how much it appeared to matter to Oliver’s camp to squeeze every penny from the Jays, I’m not sure it was ever terribly likely that he’d choose nothing over the $3-million they were happily willing to pay.

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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.

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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.

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When yesterday we learned about the hardball that Darren Oliver and his camp have decided to play with the Jays regarding his contract, the details– provided by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports– were a little bit shadowy.

The ultimatum to increase his salary came simply from “major-league sources,” and it was “sources” who told the pair that the Jays wanted Oliver back but were unwilling to stretch their budget further.

On the record, Oliver’s agent– ex-player Jeff Frye– would only say to them that “Darren Oliver has been a friend of mine for 20 years and a client for 10. Whatever he decides to do is his decision. I’m behind him 100 percent.”

Well, apparently Rosenthal and Morosi aren’t TR Sullivan, Rangers beat reporter for, because– just in case you thought there was a chance that the Fox pair’s reporting wasn’t straight– he laid out the situation in no uncertain terms:

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Please sir, I want some more…

First off, let’s have a huge crotch grab in the direction of @KingShimpy, who gets full credit for the “Darren Oliver Twist” name– at least as far as I saw– and the subsequent half-assed Photoshop.

Now, a minor mea culpa: while patrolling the comments on the post below I realized quite quickly that, assuming this afternoon’s report from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports is accurate, Darren Oliver’s position on the matter of his 2013 salary needs a lot more defending than my initial reaction provided.

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

They report:

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

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

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

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

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