Darren Oliver Will Pitch This Season (Updated With Conference Call Quotes)

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Darren Oliver will be back with the Jays in 2013, without renegotiating his contact. He'll make $3 million this year. Posting from my phone so will keep it short. Glad he is back.

Update (Minor Leaguer)

Oliver and Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos had a conference call with Blue Jays reporters this evening and Mike Wilner, Brendan Kennedy, and Shi Davidi relayed the quotes for us via Twitter (thanks!), which I've summarized below (I've also inserted my own comments here and there).

Darren Oliver thought for a long time about whether he would return to pitch for the Blue Jays in 2013, and spoke to his wife and kids before making his decision. Oliver told Anthopoulos this past weekend that he was most probably going to return. He was on a streak of pitching in the postseason six years in a row (2006-2011) entering his tenure with the Blue Jays, so he had a very tough time during the last six weeks of last season. The upgrades to the club this offseason "absolutely" helped in his decision to return to the fold. Oliver adds, "if we were going into the season the way [2012] finished, [my decision] might have been different."

Addressing the widely-reported demands for more money or a trade to the Texas Rangers, Oliver claimed that he never asked for those things and put everything on his agent Jeff Frye. He was surprised at the rumours and comments from Frye, which were made without his knowledge. He didn't know exactly what to do, but eventually decided to tell Anthopoulos that it wasn't he who was making them. In the conference call, Anthopoulos said that he was "shocked" when Frye's demands were brought to his attention. He was also "visibly surprised" that Frye went public with his demands, according to an earlier report by BlueJays.com's Chris Toman.

Oliver kind of threw Frye under the bus there. It would be interesting to see whether Frye will continue to represent the lefty.

Alex Anthopoulos said that Oliver's presence on the team is huge, as a guy who is getting better every single year. "Every team could use a Darren Oliver," Anthopoulos continued, "it's like finding a needle in a haystack."

Addressing the bullpen, Anthopoulos said that Casey Janssen, Darren Oliver, Esmil Rogers (who is out of options), and Sergio Santos (health dependent) are locks for the Major League bullpen, while J.A. Happ and Brett Cecil, despite the latter's lack of remaining options, would have to compete for a spot in Toronto. It is interesting to see that Anthopoulos locks in Rogers because he is out of options but doesn't do the same for Cecil. He later added that Cecil and Jeremy Jeffress will have to win a bullpen job in the spring.

Because starting pitching depth is still "light"--and Anthopoulos reminds everyone that the Blue Jays lost three starters in four games last year (when Tom Dakers was in attendance)--Brad Lincoln will be stretched out in Spring Training to be the club's seventh starter behind Happ. If Lincoln does not make it to Toronto's bullpen, he will be optioned and allowed to start with the AAA Buffalo Bisons.

On Alan Farina's 50-game suspension, Anthopoulos said that Farina is "embarrassed" and said that he will have to learn. When asked whether Farina's suspension was for marijuana, after likening the suspension to Jeffress' situation, Anthopoulos replied by saying "if you read between the lines." Mike Wilner then nails it with the Tweet of the Night:

Anthopoulos also mentioned the possibility of giving Darren Oliver an organizational job after his retirement if he wishes.

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