ST PETERSBURG FL - OCTOBER 07: Darren Oliver #28 of the Texas Rangers pitches during Game 2 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on October 7 2010 in St. Petersburg Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Update 4:00 PM ET: Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports the two sides are still finalizing terms, and doesn't expect anything official until next week.
The Toronto Blue Jays are close to an agreement with free-agent reliever Darren Oliver, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. It was reported earlier in the month Darren Oliver would head back to the Texas Rangers, but it looks as though the Texas Rangers will lose Oliver to the Blue Jays, according to Sullivan.
As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News notes, the hefty investment required to sign Japanese starting pitcher Yu Darvish will cost the team Darren Oliver. Remember, the Rangers won the rights to Darvish with a $51.7 million bid and it'll cost them much more than that to bring Darvish to Texas.
After moving closer Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation and missing out on now-Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey, the team will need to look internally for bullpen options. Also if Oliver leaves, the team will have zero left-handed relievers in the bullpen. According to Grant, the team has interest in free-agent lefty Mike Gonzalez, who the team acquired last summer, and moving Matt Harrison to the bullpen is another option.
Even at the seasoned age of 41, Oliver continues to be a reliable option out of the bullpen against lefties and righties. The sixteen-year veteran perhaps had his best season in 2011, posting a 2.29 ERA, 7.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 across 51 innings of work in relief.