Mets are not among the leaders to sign Darren O’Day

BaronThe 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, and according to Rosenthal, they are not among the frontrunners to land the star reliever.

Rosenthal says the Braves, Nationals, Orioles and Dodgers are leading the race to sign O’Day.

Meanwhile, the Nationals have joined the pursuit for O’Day, and’s Bill Ladson describes their interest as, “serious,” and the interest is mutual, according to Mark Zuckerman of Comcast SportsNet.

The Baltimore/Washington area could be appealing for O’Day, as his wife works for FOX News in Washington.

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.

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. Other options include Ryan Madson, Trevor Cahill, Joakim Soria, and Jonathan Broxton.

However, if O’Day is able to net a four-year contract, that could impact the market for the next tier of relievers, allowing their demands to rise in both dollars and years as well. 

The Mets haven’t seemed inclined to offer multi-year deals to relievers since they signed Frank Francisco to a two-year pact before the 2012 season, so it remains to be seen if they’re willing to change course in light of what appears to be a different condition in the market  that’s developing.

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