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.