Angels add Oliver to deep bullpen

Angels add Oliver to deep bullpen

ANAHEIM -- The Angels added another piece to an already stocked bullpen by signing Darren Oliver on Monday to a reported one-year, $1.5 million contract that includes a $2 million club option for 2008 and a $250,000 buyout, pending a physical.

In keeping with organizational philosophy that a team wins with strong pitching, the left-hander is the second experienced reliever to join the Angels' bullpen this offseason. Right-hander Justin Speier signed a four-year deal with the Halos last month.

"We feel Darren is a solid addition to our ballclub and adds a veteran presence to our bullpen," general manager Bill Stoneman said. "His versatility gives us an option as both a reliever and a spot-starter."

Oliver went 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA in 45 relief appearances with the Mets last season after coming out of retirement. He did not pitch at the Major League level in 2005, but he spent time in the Minors with the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Cubs organizations.

The 36-year-old will head to the bullpen, but he's spent the bulk of his career in the rotation. Oliver made 10 starts in 2004, as he split time between Florida and Houston, and he had a combined 3-3 mark with a 5.94 ERA that also included 17 relief appearances. Oliver was last a full-time starter in 2003, when he was 13-11 with the Rockies.

Oliver emerged as a lefty specialist last season, when he limited left-handers to a .208 batting average. The Angels employed J.C. Romero in that role in 2006, but the left-hander has since been released after the team declined his $2.75 million option.

Another key role left open was long relief with the trade of right-hander Kevin Gregg to Florida. Oliver now gives the Angels a second spot-start option in the bullpen alongside right-hander Hector Carrasco.

Oliver was sixth in the National League and 11th in the Majors in innings pitched by a reliever last season, and he has compiled a 91-80 record in his 13-year big-league career. Drafted by the Rangers in the third round in 1988, Oliver has also pitched for the Cardinals and Red Sox. Oliver's dad, Bob Oliver, played for the Angels from 1972-74.

Mike Scarr is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.