Free agent relief pitcher Darren O'Day won't have to pack up and move anytime soon, agreeing to return to the Baltimore Orioles with a reported 4-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal. Jon Heyman reports the contract is worth $31 million.
O'Day, now 33, was 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA and six saves in 68 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2015, with 82 strikeouts and 14 walks in 65⅓ innings.
The Orioles were one of several teams interested in O'Day this offseason, with the Nationals, Dodgers, Braves, Tigers, Mets and Cubs all reportedly linked to the reliever at some point.
O'Day tweeted Sunday that the deal was not done, though Heyman reported again that an agreement was reached, pending a physical.
Contrary to the news, I have not reached an agreement with the O's yet. I am flattered by all the attention, but reports are premature.— Darren O'Day (@DODay56) December 6, 2015
O'Day tweeted to say it's premature he has deal. explanation: there's agreement at 31M/4 but o's physicals r not sure things— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 6, 2015
O'day still has full physical with o's, who have history of failing folks, even own guys deemed healthy elsewhere (markakis)— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 6, 2015
I can't blame o'day for being cautious. Without even signed offer sheet, you never know. But the sides did agree on deal.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 6, 2015
O'Day was rated by Grant Brisbee of SB Nation in October as the 25th-best free agent this offseason, and the top relief pitcher.
The sidearm right-hander hasn't been a closer, with just 14 career saves, but he has been one of the most effective and reliable setup men in baseball for the last four years, all with Baltimore. Since the beginning of 2012, O'Day is 23-8 with a 1.92 ERA, with 283 strikeouts and 62 walks in 263 innings during that span.
O'Day has pitched exactly 68 games in each of the last three seasons, and he pitched in 69 games in 2012, one of just eight pitchers in the majors to appear in at least 65 games in each of the last four years.
O'Day has had an ERA above 2.28 only once in the last seven years, and that was during an injury-plagued 2011 campaign that limited him to just 16 appearances. In his eight-year career, with the Angels, Mets, Rangers and Orioles, O'Day has a 2.31 ERA in 459 games, all in relief, with 431 strikeouts and 111 walks in 443⅔ innings.