10:56pm: MLB.com’s Mark Bowman hears differently from Rosenthal, tweeting that the Braves’ early interest in O’Day has dwindled as his price has risen.
10:26pm: There’s been no shortage of teams connected to Darren O’Day this winter, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Dodgers are in “big time” pursuit of the former Orioles setup ace, noting that two sources have said as much to him in the past week. A more surprising team now being linked to O’Day, though, is the Braves, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Atlanta is in the midst of a rebuilding phase but is nonetheless eyeing O’Day as well as left-hander Matt Thornton, Rosenthal writes, adding that execs from other clubs feel that the Braves could actually submit the largest offer for O’Day’s services.
O’Day is said to be seeking a four-year pact in the range of $28-36MM total and reportedly left last week’s GM Meetings with multiple offers in hand. Presumably, none of the offers extended to him in Boca Raton were in that range, but the Dodgers have been connected to O’Day from the onset of the offseason and were said by Crasnick last week to have “significant” interest, which seemingly hasn’t waned as widespread interest potentially works in O’Day’s favor.
While Atlanta makes a curious fit, it should be noted that despite the fact that 2014-15 was an offseason spent largely rebuilding, the team did add veteran Nick Markakis on a four-year deal. Adding O’Day would be a similar win-now move amidst a slew of other re-tooling maneuvers, though any multi-year deal agreed to would extend into the 2017-18 window in which Atlanta aims to contend with a rebuilt staff of impressive young pitchers.
Thornton’s asking price isn’t known at this time, but the 39-year-old vet did just conclude a 2015 campaign that saw him work to a pristine 2.18 ERA in 41 1/3 innings. While Thornton’s strikeout numbers (5.0 K/9) are down considerably from his peak years with the White Sox, he held left-handed opponents to a miserable .198/.205/.279 batting line and was also reasonably effective, albeit not dominant against right-handers as well (.229/.333/.357).
Los Angeles and Atlanta are just two of many teams that have reportedly shown interest in O’Day. He’s also been linked to the Tigers, Mets, Cubs, Nationals, Red Sox and Royals. Of course, Boston and Detroit have already acquired help for the back of their bullpens and may not wish to spend to this extent to further bolster their relief contingents.