Source: Oliver nears deal with Rangers

Updated: December 22, 2009, 12:35 AM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

Free agent reliever Darren Oliver has reached a preliminary agreement with the Texas Rangers on a one-year, guaranteed $3.5 million contract, according to a baseball source. The deal includes a vesting option for 2011 that could increase Oliver's overall payout to $6.25 million, the source said.

Oliver, 39, will have to take a physical exam before the deal becomes official. An agreement is expected to be announced early this week.

A source with knowledge of the deal told ESPNDallas.com that the physical is scheduled for Tuesday.

The Associated Press reported early Tuesday that Oliver's deal would include a $3 million salary next year and a $3.25 million option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout. The second year of the contract would become guaranteed, however, if Oliver makes 60 appearances next season.

This will mark the third tour of Texas for Oliver, who began his big league career with the Rangers in 1993 and made a second tour of Arlington in 2000 and 2001.

Oliver, a left-hander, has a career record of 106-83 in 16 seasons with Texas, St. Louis, Boston, Colorado, Florida, Houston, the Mets and the Angels.

Oliver played a valuable role for the Angels last season, posting a 5-1 record with a 2.71 ERA in 63 appearances for manager Mike Scioscia. The Angels declined to offer Oliver salary arbitration in early December, but were among several teams in the mix to sign him in recent weeks. Boston, Seattle and the Yankees also had been mentioned in speculation.

The Angels' decision not to offer Oliver arbitration means that Texas will not owe Los Angeles draft-pick compensation in exchange for signing him.

Oliver is about to become the third player to leave the Angels' 2009 AL West championship club through free agency. The Angels have lost Chone Figgins to Seattle and John Lackey to Boston. They signed free agent DH Hideki Matsui to a $6 million deal this week.

ESPN Insider Jerry Crasnick, ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer