UPDATE: Darren Oliver agrees to a deal with the Rangers

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UPDATE: T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that Oliver and the Rangers have reached a deal for $3.5 million with a vesting option for 2011.  The option may be moot, however, as Oliver has said that he’ll probably retire after 2010. I suppose that all depends on how 2010 goes for him on the field.

8:00 A.M.: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Darren Oliver and the Rangers are near a deal. No sense on what the money is, but he says it could be done early this week.

Oliver made $3.665 million last year and posted a career-best ERA for a second straight season, finishing at 2.71 in 73 innings. He was probably the Angels’ best reliever, and if it weren’t for the fact that Anaheim has a handful of crummy contracts with other guys (Justin Speier, Brian Fuentes, Scot Sheilds) Anaheim probably would have offered him arbitration which would have effectively ensured his return.

Just a lesson that, more often than not, a handful of bad, mid-range deals can handicap a team far worse than a big bad contract can.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.