Remember how left-hander Darren Oliver wanted a raise to return to the Blue Jays in 2013? Yeah, well, general manager Alex Anthopoulos is calling his bluff.
According to Chris Toman of MLB.com, Anthopoulos said earlier tonight that he doesn’t expect Oliver to be with the Blue Jays next season and believes the 42-year-old will ultimately opt for retirement. He also expressed little interest in restructuring the $3 million club option they exercised earlier this offseason.
“His contract is his contract. That’s what we signed him to. I don’t see us doing that.”
Can’t blame Oliver for trying and it’s unfortunate that this had to leak out into the press, but he put pen to paper and agreed to a contract last offseason. The Blue Jays could set a nasty precedent if they give in to Oliver’s wishes, either with a raise or a trade to the Rangers, so it’s unlikely they’ll budge here.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.