Poor Darren Oliver.
After all that back and forth in the offseason with his agent talking about how the veteran lefty wanted to retire with the Texas Rangers, only for the ageless wonder himself to come out and eventually agree to one more year with the Toronto Blue Jays in search for a ring … it seems that Oliver still hasn’t found the elusive prize he’s been looking for.
It’s not all sad endings, though — the bluebirds can give him one more chance yet.
Toronto’s 2013 has been, as most of the baseball work knows by now, an
unmitigated disaster beyond even the most pessimistic imagination unfortunate disappointment. That mean the team’s got a little setting up shop to do over the next couple of days as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
And the special of the year? Relievers.
In fact, you could probably make a point in saying that even if the Blue Jays weren’t really selling and were content to hang on to All-Stars like Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil and closer Casey Janssen, that they almost owe the vetern Oliver to set him free to a contender at this point considering their chances of contending for a playoff spot.
Which is to say if is you had to pick one arm to be first to go over the next couple of days, it’s probably the 19-year vet.
Though he might not actually bring too much back in terms of actual assets thanks to a sub-par season thus far, this is still an excellent situational reliever against right-handers. Oliver owns a 1.66/0.88 ERA/WHIP against righty batters with a .151 BAA, making him the an ideal final, low-cost piece for a contender needing a LOOGY and wanting to pay a PTBNL or just good ol’ cash for his services.
While there are no shortage of teams looking to sell of bullpen arms this season, don’t be surprised if Oliver’s services end up being in more demand than expected either.
Though he is likely in the final year of his career, the southpaw has the intangible experience factor (aside from his left-handedness) that a pitcher with better numbers like Cecil won’t have, and you can expect that if teams come calling for one of the Blue Jays’ bullpen arms, it should be Oliver who get the first shot at establishing the trade market for the other Toronto relievers because of the combination of ability and financial commitment.
I mean, it’s the least the team can do after he decided to basically un-retire to give it one more shot at a ring, right?