We heard earlier this week that Darren Oliver was on the verge of re-signing with the Rangers, but things have evidently changed over the past few days.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the veteran left-hander is drawing interest from multiple teams, including the Red Sox, and is “keeping an open mind” on his destination for next season.
Oliver earned $3.25 million this season while posting a 2.29 ERA and 44/11 K/BB ratio over 51 innings. One of the more unsung middle relievers in the game, he has an outstanding 2.97 ERA since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2006. The 41-year-old was mulling retirement following the World Series, but recently decided to return for his 19th season in the big leagues.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.