With less than a month before pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin, Fla., for spring training, few questions remain for the 2013 Blue Jays roster. The lineup and rotation are set. Aside from who will fill the final bench spot, the Jays bullpen is the only area of uncertainty.
Darren Oliver, the veteran southpaw who was arguably the club's best reliever last year, is expected to retire rather than return for his 20th major-league season — although he has yet to announce his decision.
The Jays exercised a $3-million club option on Oliver's contract to keep the 42-year-old, but the pitcher's agent said earlier this month he would return to Toronto only at "market value," which is probably in the neighbourhood of the $6 million a year fellow left-hander Jeremy Affeldt received from the San Francisco Giants.
Oliver would honour his $3-million option only if he were traded to the Texas Rangers, his agent said, so that he could be closer to his Dallas-based family.
Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has said he wouldn't restructure Oliver's contract and didn't anticipate trading him.
"Right now, if I have to handicap it, it looks like he'll be retiring," Anthopoulos said.
Presuming Oliver's absence, we project the seven or eight hurlers who figure to make up the Jays bullpen.
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Toronto Star | Jan 15