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 Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.