After all the “my client wants more or trade him to Texas” talk coming from Darren Oliver’s agent, Jeff Frye, it looks like Oliver wasn’t ready to hang up the spikes just yet.
The Blue Jays have just announced that Oliver, 42, will return for his 20th season in the big leagues and honour the $3 million dollar option agreement on his contract. Oliver posted a 2.06 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 56 2/3 innings this past season. The Jays will be happy to welcome him back (especially at $3 million) to solidify the back end of the bullpen.
With Oliver returning, look for the following line up in the bullpen on opening day:
Longman – JA Happ (L)
Middle relief – S. Delabar (R), B. Lincoln (R), B. Cecil (L)
Set up – D. Oliver (L), S. Santos (R)
Closer – C. Janssen
On the outside looking in – E. Rogers (R), A. Loup (L), J.Jeffress (R). Look for Rogers to get the nod should any righty reliever be injured prior to opening day. He is an easy fill in for middle relief. Loup would be next on the depth chart if something happened to either Cecil or Oliver.
The closer spot will be Janssen’s to lose, but look for either Santos or Delabar to get consideration should Janssen struggle early (remember, he had minor surgery on his throwing shoulder this past offseason – yet, he is expected to be 100% for Spring Training).
Oliver will address the media today at 6 pm EST via conference call, so look for lots of headlines tomorrow.
For those who missed this announcement a few days ago, the Blue Jays have hired Tim Raines as a roaming minor league outfielder/base running instructor.
Raines, 53, has served in various coaching roles since retiring in 2002. He served as the manager for Montreal’s Class A Advanced affiliate in Brevard County in 2003, worked on the White Sox’s staff from 2004-06 and joined the Harrisburg Senators as hitting coach in ’07. He moved on to manage the Can-Am League’s Newark Bears from 2009-11 before becoming an assistant coach and the club’s director of player development.
Raines stole 808 bases in his career, the fifth-highest total of all time, and led the National League in steals for four straight seasons while playing for Montreal. The speedy leadoff hitter compiled a career .294 average, .385 on-base percentage and .425 slugging percentage in 2,502 big league games with the Expos, White Sox, Yankees, A’s, Orioles and Marlins.
Definitely someone worth having in the organization that young players should look up to.
Russ Canzler’s days as a Blue Jay were short lived. MLB.com has reported that the Indians have re-claimed Canzler off waivers from the Jays after Toronto tried to sneak him through waivers and designated him to triple-A to free up room on the 40-man roster.
The Blue Jays had claimed Canzler from Cleveland on December 21st, not long after the Indians designated him for assignment.
Canzler appeared in 26 games for the Indians this past season. The 26-year-old posted a .269 avg, .299 obp, .398 slg batting line in 97 MLB plate appearances while playing first base and left field.
The right handed batting and throwing Canzler has the ability to play both corner infield and outfield spots and was thought to have an opportunity to compete for the final opening on Toronto’s bench next year. Canzler was also thought to have the opportunity to DH vs. lefties if Adam Lind struggles vs. southpaw pitching. He spent most of last season at triple-A, where he posted a .265 avg, .328 obp, .487 slg batting line with 22 home runs and 36 doubles in 539 plate appearances.
I’m a bit surprised by this move. Canzler seemed like a nice fit to round out the 40-man roster and take the final bench spot. He bats right, has power, and can play four positions. But if Toronto was willing to expose him to waivers to make room on the 40-man, there might be another transaction in the near future.
Just thought I’d give Rogers Sportsnet a shout out for replaying the ’92 World Series over the holidays. I still had goosebumps watching those games and had forgotten just how close nearly every game was (with the exception of game 5).
A few comments:
– Strange how Jack Morris won 20 games that year and was usually untouchable in the playoffs but suffered the only two losses to the Braves.
– In game 6, Cito sticks with Jimmy Key vs. the pinch hitter Brian Hunter who hit 90 points higher vs. lefties but then goes to Mike Timlin to face Otis Nixon.
– Watching the starts turned in by both Juan Guzman (game 3) and Key (game 4) were beautiful.
– The Jays bullpen was rock solid throughout the series and probably the difference maker.
– Curiously, Devon White had 37 steals in 41 attempts that season but then had only 1 steal in 5 attempts in the entire postseason.
– The Braves stealing bases at will vs. Pat Borders and the Jays pitchers.
– Deion Sanders carrying the Braves offence after not starting any of the previous 42 games prior to the World Series.
– MVP, Pat Borders, hitting everything hard.
– The triple play that never was.
– Dave Winfield’s sac bunt in game 4.
– Ed Sprague’s pinch hit homer (on the first pitch he saw) in game 2.
I’m not sure if Sportsnet replayed the ’92 series for the 20th anniversary, because the Jays have had a huge offseason and there is definitely a buzz, or if there is no NHL and they need to fill a hole (or perhaps all of the above). I hope they play the ’93 series next year between Christmas and New Years – it made this holiday season magical.
The Toronto Blue Jays continued their busy waiver claim off season by picking up Russ Canzler, 26, who had been designated for assignment earlier this week by the Indians.
The right handed batting and throwing Canzler appeared in 26 games with the Indians last season and hit .269 with three homers and 11 RBIs. He has the ability to play both corner infield and outfield spots and might have an opportunity to compete for the final opening on Toronto’s bench next year. Canzler may also have the opportunity to DH vs. lefties if Adam Lind struggles vs. southpaw pitching. He spent most of last season at triple-A, where he posted a .265 avg, .328 obp, .487 slg batting line with 22 home runs and 36 doubles in 539 plate appearances.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Jays designated RHP Mickey Storey to triple-A. Storey, 26, showed promising stuff with the Astros last season posting a 3.86 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 30.1 innings at the MLB level. He also spent considerable time at triple-A in 2012, posting a 3.05 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 65 innings.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Storey’s waiver claim world continue (he’s gone from the Astros, to the Yankees, to the Astros, to the Jays). With the numbers he showed last season, I figure someone will make a claim and keep him on their 40-man.
However, with a crowded Jays bullpen, especially for righties, picking up Canzler seems like the right move. He most likely won’t hit better than .260ish, but he does have extra base power and could platoon with Lind if needed. Also, Canzler’s ability to play 1B, 3B, LF or RF will give him an opportunity to find at bats. I suspect if there are no more moves prior to the beginning of spring training, Canzler is the favourite to win the final bench spot on the Jays 25-man MLB squad.
What a difference an offseason can make. The Blue Jays went from a team desperately seeking a post season berth in 2013 if they could only capture the magic of the 2012 Orioles or 2008 Rays. Today, well, they are the favourites to win the 2013 World Series.
The odds makers at Bodog (sports gambling site) have pegged the Blue Jays as 15/2 favourites to win the whole thing this upcoming year. After the Marlins deal, the Jays shot up to 11/1 odds, good enough for a 4th place tie with the Yankees. After the R.A. Dickey deal, the Jays rose to top of the list to 8/1 but have since settled at 15/2.
Below is a complete list of how all MLB teams stand as of today and there chances of October glory:
The Blue Jays continued their minor moves yesterday by adding right-handed reliever Mickey Storey, 26, off waivers from Astros.
It has been a busy offseason for Storey. He was claimed off waivers from the Astros by the Yankees in November. Then, the Yankees designated him for assignment in early December and the Astros claimed him back on waivers. When the Astros did not keep him on their 40-man roster and sent him to triple-A, the Blue Jays made a waiver claim. Storey now occupies the final roster spot on the Jays’ 40-man.
Storey made 26 relief appearances for the Astros this past season. He posted a 3.86 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 30.1 innings at the MLB level. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound righty posted a .237 average against, including a .167 mark against left-handed batters. He also spent considerable time at Triple-A in 2012, posting a 3.05 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 65 innings.
I would imagine Storey will be given the opportunity to compete in a crowded bullpen for a spot on the MLB club. I wouldn’t be surprised though if he instead opens the year in triple-A while remaining on the 40-man roster (as not to lose him in waivers) to provide bullpen depth in case of injury.