Monday, January 9, 2012

Q and A with the Newest Blue Jay, Darren Oliver

Today, Monday January 9th, the Blue Jays announced the signing of LHP Darren Oliver. I had the pleasure of interviewing Oliver this past week, and you will get to see that interview after this brief introduction. In order to make room on the 40-man Roster for Oliver, the Blue Jays DFA'd Utility Man Mark Teahen, which means the Jays now have ten days to release him, trade him, or send him to the minor leagues. Oliver,41, is entering his 19th season in the MLB, but has posted his 4 lowest ERA's in his career, in the past 4 years, all in order. AA signed Oliver to a 1 year, $4 million deal with an Anthoption for 2013 worth $3 million. For those of you who do not know what an anthoption, it is the club friendly options added to almost every player contract AA signs. Now for that interview.

In 2008, at age 37 you transformed from being a mediocre relief pitcher, to being one of the best in the game. How did you do it, was it a change of mechanics?

It helps to be on a winning team like I have been on the past 6 years. The older you get, the wiser you get, I study the game a lot more now because I don't have the same stuff as I did 10 years ago.

What do you think of the new Blue Jays jerseys?

I haven't looked at the uniforms up close just yet, but I'm sure they're nice.

Which number will you being wearing for the Jays in 2012?

As of right now it looks like #38, the number I wore with the Angels from 2007-2009

You were brought in by Alex Anthopoulos this off-season, along with two other fantastic relief pitchers. These three moves have quickly transformed the Blue Jays bullpen into one of the best in the game. What team in your career have you been on that has had the most dominating relief corps?

It is hard to judge bullpens from year to year. Usually if the team has success, the bullpen is pretty much good. Most of the bullpens I have been a part of have had really good guys that made the season fun!

Was Texas being the number one hitting ballpark in the MLB a major reason why you decided to come to Toronto instead of going back to Arlington?

No, it wasnt.

What was it like growing up with a father who played in the Majors?

It wasn't a big deal to me. Not like it is today. Players back then did not make much money and the media exposure was minimal. I just looked at my Dad being my Dad, just like my kids!

What is your secret for being able to continue to play when you are 41, an age that is considered old when it comes to baseball?

I have a friend who is a doctor and he always tells me to pick your parents well. Got to have good genetics I believe.

Are you good friends with anybody on the Blue Jays?

I played with Jeff Mathis for 3 years in Anaheim.

Is the biggest plus about pitching for the Jays that you don't have to pitch against Adam Lind, a player that absolutley destroyed Ranger pitching, or is it that you don't have to pitch against arguably the best player in the MLB in Jose Bautista?

There are a lot of good players besides Lind and Bautista... lets just say I am happy they are on my team.

Many players do not want to sign with Toronto because they do not like the city, was this a factor in your contract negotiations?

Toronto has always been one of my favorite cities! Good food, clean city, friendly people... I also get to go to my favorite restaurant now too! (Barbarians Steakhouse)

Stay tuned to BlueJaysPlus, as hopefully I will be able to conduct more interviews with players throughout the season. Comments are welcomed below, or on twitter, where you could find me on @BlueJaysPlus

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