Nationals, Dodgers could be leading the pursuit of Darren O’Day
The Mets, looking to create a lockdown formula late in games in their bullpen, have expressed interest in signing one of the premier right-handed relievers on the free agent market this winter, Darren O’Day.
O’Day has posted an ERA of 2.30 or less in each of the last four seasons, saving his best for 2015 when he went 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings and a whopping 274 ERA+.
But as the demand for O’Day’s services has risen over the course of the month, so has his price tag, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports said the right-hander is now seeking a four-year deal worth upwards of $36 million.
The Mets are very unlikely to sign O’Day to those terms.
The Mets are projected to be committed to anywhere between $8-10 million to both Familia and Addison Reed in 2016. If they met O’Day half way and signed him to a four-year, $32 million deal, they’d be committed to $16-18 million for three relief pitchers in 2016, hardly ideal from a payroll allocation perspective.
Meanwhile, the Nationals have joined the pursuit for O’Day, and MLB.com’s Bill Ladson describes their interest as, “serious,” and the interest is mutual, according to Mark Zuckerman of Comcast SportsNet.
And according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Nationals and the Dodgers could now be leading the pursuit for O’Day, with the Braves also trying to recruit the side-arming right-hander, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Presumably, the rest of the reliever market is waiting for O’Day to sign and establish a baseline price. Once that happens, teams like the Mets (assuming they don’t sign O’Day) should be able to get a better understanding at what the cost in both dollars and years will be for secondary options.
And there are no shortage of quality options to O’Day, either.
There’s always relievers like Joakim Soria, Ryan Madson, Jonathan Broxton, and Trevor Cahill, all of which might take one-year contracts, although Soria could command a deal of two years or more, especially if O’Day can net a four-year pact.
As for Soria, the the Mets have expressed in him, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. But it’s possible Soria will want to close next season, which could hinder the Mets ability to sign the 31-year-old reliever.