We heard last week that Darren Oliver wanted a raise from the Blue Jays or a trade to the Rangers to be coaxed to come back for his 20th season in the majors, but nobody is blinking yet.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that while the Rangers have talked with the Blue Jays about possibly acquiring Oliver, a deal is unlikely to happen. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulous reiterated earlier this week that the team would be thrilled to have him back on his $3 million option for 2013, but are currently working under the assumption that he will retire.
“We’d love to have Darren back,” Anthopoulos said. “We’d love to have him back at any point. If he calls tomorrow, thrilled. If he calls two days before Spring Training, thrilling.”
Oliver, who turned 42 in October, is coming off a career-best 2.02 ERA over 62 appearances in 2012. He has a 2.88 ERA over the last seven seasons.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.