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.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.