Washington Nationals Rumors: Nats closing in on Darren O’Day?
By Pablo Roa
The Washington Nationals are reportedly “favorites” to sign reliever Darren O’Day, who is expected to sign with a team before the Winter Meetings.
The biggest question facing the Washington Nationals entering the offseason was what they would do with the bullpen. The ‘pen was undoubtedly the team’s greatest weakness in 2015, and many expected the Nationals to completely overhaul the bullpen this winter.
Yesterday, the team made the first move in that direction by signing veteran left-hander Oliver Perez to a two-year deal. Now, it looks like the Nationals could be closing in on another big bullpen signing: veteran setup man Darren O’Day.
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According to a report from Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Nationals are now considered the favorites to sign O’Day, who is reportedly choosing between Washington, Baltimore and Atlanta. O’Day has been with the Orioles organization for four years and is reportedly seeking a four-year deal.
O’Day, 33, has been stellar in his four years with the Orioles. The right-hander went 23-8 with a 1.92 ERA with a .939 WHIP in 263 innings of work with Baltimore. In his eight-year career, O’Day boasts a 2.31 ERA and a 1.005 WHIP.
The veteran right-hander is coming off one of the best seasons of his career with the Orioles in 2015, when he went 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA. O’Day earned his first career All-Star Game selection last season, and his strong 2015 campaign should help him get the money he wants this winter.
While the Nationals appear to be the favorites to land O’Day at this point, there’s no guarantee that the team will be able to sign him. O’Day has seen plenty of success with the Orioles and may chose to stay in Baltimore. And as the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga notes, the Nationals may not be willing to give O’Day the contract length he’s asking for.
While more moves would likely need to be made to fix the bullpen, signing O’Day would go a long way in addressing the team’s biggest problem of 2015. O’Day brings a veteran presence and a proven track record to a bullpen in desperate need of both, and with the futures of Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen still uncertain, O’Day could be one of the few safe bets the team has for the bullpen in 2016.
In any event, O’Day’s decision should come sooner rather than later.