Darren Oliver turned 41 years old during the 2011 postseason, and you'd think playing for the AL champions two years in a row might be enough to be a coda to his career, at that age.
Oliver, though, has been one of the better lefthanded relievers in baseball for the last six years, and given the dearth of good situational lefties in the game, he's still in demand despite his advanced years.
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Oliver is close to signing a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays:
According to two major league sources, Oliver is close to signing a deal with Toronto - the club that finished as runnerup to the Rangers in the Darvish sweepstakes. Oliver, 41, was the Rangers' top lefty reliever each of the last two seasons. Oliver, who lives in Southlake, had expressed interest in returning to the Rangers and there was mutual interest. He met with GM Jon Daniels in early December, but the Rangers did not make any commitments, pending their potential outlay for other free agents.
You wouldn't think that Oliver, who made $3.25 million in 2011, would break the Rangers' bank, especially since, as Grant points out, without him Texas will have no lefthanders in their bullpen. But that's what sometimes happens even to teams that appear to have very deep pockets.
If Oliver does sign with the Blue Jays, he will pitch in his 19th major league season in 2012; he'll be leaving the team that's owned by Nolan Ryan, who was one of his teammates in his rookie season in 1993.