There is no doubt that the Toronto Blue Jays would like to see lefty reliever Darren Oliver return to the team in 2013. Alex Anthopoulos and his staff showed as much on Wednesday, when they picked up the option on the shut-down lefty’s contract, guaranteeing him $3 million for next season and a spot on the 2013 roster.
That is all fine and dandy, but it does not guarantee that Oliver will return to the team next season.
If Oliver returns for 2013, he would definitely be a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. However, the 42-year-old Oliver has hinted at possibly hanging up his cleats in favor of taking on a more pronounced role at home with his children.
You can hardly fault a man for wanting to spend more time with his family, especially after having spent the better part of two decades as a vagabond on the journey through Major League Baseball’s arduous seasons. Still, he has not shown any signs of regression, actually enjoying his best season as a player in 2012, when he posted a 3-4 record, a 2.06 ERA, and 52 strike-outs in 56.2 innings pitched. Oliver finished 2012 worth close to 2 wins above replacement, which is saying something for a middle-reliever and shows just how valuable Oliver is out of the Blue Jays pen.
So in the end, the Blue Jays did what they had to. They picked up his option and hope that Darren Oliver has one more season left in his rubber arm.