Darren Oliver has been so good while posting a sub-3.00 ERA in five straight seasons that it’s easy to forget he’s 41 years old, but the Blue Jays left-hander revealed yesterday that retirement is on his mind.
Oliver has had one of his best seasons, throwing 56 innings with a 2.10 ERA and 52/15 K/BB ratio for Toronto, but John Lott of the National Post writes that “he sounds like a man ready to stay home.”
Here’s some of what Oliver had to say:
Every kid needs a father at home. That’s important to me. I think it should be important to a lot of people. Baseball’s second. Family’s first. I’ve always said that. … Even though I was there, a lot of times I didn’t see them that much either, but obviously I was at home. It’s still tough. They’d go to school and by the time they got home from school, I was already at the field, and by the time I got home from the field, they’re sleeping. Then you go on the road. It doesn’t matter where you’re at, it’s still tough.
If he does decide to come back for a 20th season the Blue Jays hold a $3 million team option on Oliver that they’d obviously exercise.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).
Free agent closer Mark Melancon is entertaining at least two offers in the four-year, $60+ million ballpark, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The teams thought to be in the running are the Giants and Nationals, with the Giants having a slight edge due to their strong interest in him last summer (per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick).
Crasnick also said that while the Giants are keeping tabs on the top three free agent closers this winter, the other two being Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, they’re leaning toward Melancon as a (slightly) more affordable option in the ‘pen. It’s worth noting that Melancon would not cost the Giants a draft pick if they decided to sign him.
Melancon had an outstanding season in 2016, nearly reaching career-best numbers with a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and 5.42 K/BB rate in 71 1/3 innings split between the Pirates and Nationals’ bullpens. The veteran right-hander earned his third career All-Star distinction after stifling opposing hitters with a 1.23 ERA and 7.9 K/9 rate in the first half, and went on to appear in his fourth consecutive playoff run.
Despite the Giants’ apparent lead in the bidding for Melancon, Rosenthal mentioned a third mystery team who might throw their hat in the ring as well. No clubs have been name-dropped as of yet.