Pay up or lose a quality left-handed relief pitcher to another team or retirement.

That appears to be the scenario for the Toronto Blue Jays, who can retain 42-year-old Darren Oliver if they rework his agreed upon team option of $3 million US for the 2013 season, according to

Oliver reportedly is seeking a deal closer to market value if he is to spend more time away from his Texas-based family.

The 19-year major leaguer agreed to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million before the 2012 campaign and went on to post a career-best 2.06 earned-run average in 62 appearances for the Jays while striking out 8.26 batters per nine innings.

In each of the last five seasons, Oliver hasn't sported an ERA above 2.88.

Problem is, it's believed Toronto management doesn’t want to continue raising a payroll that has reached $120 million this off-season following the additions of starting pitchers R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle along with shortstop Jose Reyes through trade and the signing of free agents Melky Cabrera and Maicer Izturis.

Oliver seems firm in his demand, despite the fact the Blue Jays appear a much-improved team from the club that won just 73 games last season.

It’s about an athlete honouring his contract or a team bending to his demands.

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