SF Giants New Free-Agent Targets: RHP Darren O’Day
If you need a sign that MLB teams will be aggressively cutting costs this offseason, Atlanta declined a $3.5 million club option on veteran reliever Darren O’Day. Last season, O’Day appeared in 19 games, completed 16 innings, struck out 22 batters, and held opponents to a 1.10 ERA. His peripherals backed up a strong performance as well, posting a 2.76 FIP.
At 37 years old, O’Day has seemed destined for regression for years. However, the righthanded submariner has done an incredible job evading father time. Since 2015, O’Day has appeared in 213 games, completed 198.1 innings, struck out 251 batters, walked just 61, and managed a 2.63 ERA. Quietly, he has been one of the most consistent relief pitchers in baseball.
The Giants clearly need to add at least one veteran reliever to an inconsistent bullpen group this season. One of the more consistent weaknesses was a dearth of strong righthanded pitching options. O’Day would offer manager Gabe Kapler a more balanced pen and a reliever with an incredibly strong track record.
Furthermore, O’Day clearly will not cost much money in guarantees next season. Even if Atlanta’s ownership was unwilling to pay $3.5 million to retain his rights, it shows that the club did not think they could trade O’Day’s contract for a low-level prospect or marginal roster piece.
O’Day is far from a perfect setup option. He has struggled throughout his career against left-handed hitters and, with the new three-batter minimum rule, may be particularly at risk. Granted, that should not prevent the Giants from adding him to their staff.