Washington Nationals Rumors: Nats In The Mix For Darren O’Day


As the Washington Nationals look to revamp their bullpen for the 2016 season, they appear to have arguably the top free agent reliever, Darren O’Day, as one of their main targets. Last night, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and MLB Network reported that the Nats are one of the three teams who could have an edge in acquiring O’Day, joining the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves:

In the column written by Heyman, he talks about how O’Day’s wife, Liz Prann, could play a factor in his decision. O’Day has been with the Orioles each of the last four season and his wife has a prominent job in the Mid-Atlantic area:

"“O’Day’s wife, Liz Prann, is a TV reporter for FOX based in Washington, which could give the Nats a bit of an edge. O’Day has starred for the Orioles in recent years, so the location works — though Prann is well established and could get jobs elsewhere.” (h/t Heyman, CBS Sports)"

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O’Day has many suitors looking for his services after a strong 2015 campaign. In 68 appearances, the 33-year-old right-hander went 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA, had six saves, a 0.93 WHIP, and struck out 11.3 batters per nine innings. Down the stretch, O’Day had an ERA of 1.99 over his final 33 outings of the year.

With O’Day having so many suitors, it is likely that he is going to get a four-year deal from the team that signs him. It would be risky to pay a reliever into his age-37 season, but O’Day has the versatility that the Nationals need in terms of someone who can fill multiple roles out of the ‘pen.

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If the Nats choose to keep Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon, they could provide a good trio late in the game, which will help the starting rotation, that will lose Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister to free agency. However, I still think neither Storen nor Papelbon will be in a Nationals’ uniform when the 2016 season begins.

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All in all, as I wrote about in my free agent profile of O’Day, I think he would be a good fit for the Nationals. But, it comes down to how much money and how many years the front office is willing to go. If you look at the closers on the free agent market, it’s O’Day, Joakim Soria, and then there is a drop off. O’Day is worth the premium money, but can the Nats outbid a team like the Dodgers in order to get the player they want?

Update: 2:41 PM ET: According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Nationals have emerged as one of the favorites for O’Day, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers: