ARLINGTON -- Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver is considering the possibility of retirement after a 19-year career if Toronto doesn't raise his salary or trade him to the Rangers.
The Blue Jays picked up Oliver's $3 million option for 2013 after he went 3-4 with a 2.06 ERA in 62 games this past season. The 2.06 ERA was the lowest in Oliver's career, but his $3 million salary is far less than the three-year, $18 million contract that the Giants gave left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt this offseason.
Oliver, 42, pitched for the Rangers in 2010-11 and his family still lives in Tarrant County. He would prefer to pitch for the Rangers or retire if the Blue Jays aren't willing to address his contract situation.
"The facts are the facts," Oliver's agent Jeff Frye said on Thursday. "It's going to take a lot more money for Darren to play in Toronto than play in Texas. We're waiting on the Blue Jays to pay him what he deserves. If not, we have asked them to trade him to Texas if the Rangers are interested.
"If not he'll ride off into the sunset after a great 19-year career and enjoy his family."
At this point there have been little in the way of trade discussions between the Rangers and the Blue Jays. But the Rangers are still looking to upgrade their bullpen after signing right-handed reliever Jason Frasor on Thursday.
The Rangers currently have Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman as their primary left-handed relievers. Ross, who was 6-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 58 games for the Rangers as a rookie in 2012, was a starter in the Minors and the Rangers are considering the possibility of moving him to the rotation.
But they are unlikely to do that unless they can find a proven left-handed reliever to replace him. But quality left-handed relievers are in short supply, which is one reason why Affeldt was able to command a three-year deal from the Giants. The best left-handed reliever still on the free-agent market is J.P. Howell, who had a 3.04 ERA in 55 games with the Rays this past season.
Oliver is one of five left-handed relievers in the Blue Jays' bullpen along with Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil, Luis Perez and Evan Crawford.