Some baseball players go out on top. Some baseball players stay in the game until they’re in their 40s. Very few do both. Darren Oliver seems poised to, however, as Jon Heyman reports that Oliver is leaning toward retirement. This despite the fact that, just yesterday, the Blue Jays exercised his $3 million option.
He certainly has stuff left in the tank. After seemingly petering out as a starter eight years ago, he came back in 2006 as a lefty relief specialist and has been fantastic in the role for the Mets, Angels, Rangers and Jays. This year he posted a 2.06 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 52/15 K/BB ratio in 56 and two-thirds innings and he’s had an ERA under 3.00 for five straight years.
As he said a month ago, however, baseball isn’t everything, and at age 42, he’s ready for more time with his family. He’s earned it. A really nice career. A damn fine one, in fact.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.