The Braves have announced that they have selected the contract of reliever Darren O’Day, who they had signed to a minor league deal in November. To make room on the 40-man roster, fellow reliever Luke Jackson was placed on the 60-day IL. Additionally, Kyle Muller was optioned to Triple-A.
O’Day, 39, is a veteran side-arming righty who made his MLB debut with the Angels back in 2008. After spending some time with the Mets and Rangers, he landed with the Orioles and stayed for his longest stretch with any one club, spending seven seasons in Baltimore from 2012 to 2018. He then spent two seasons with Atlanta before donning Yankee pinstripes last year, and will now rejoin the Braves this year.
Over his 587 1/3 career innings, he holds an ERA of 2.53, strikeout rate of 25.8% and walk rate of 6.8%, all excellent numbers. However, he was limited to just 10 2/3 innings last year due to various injuries. He had a player option that could have kept him in the Bronx this year with a $1.4MM salary, but he chose the $700K buyout instead. His deal with the Braves will guarantee him $1MM, meaning that he earned himself an extra $300K by opting for the buyout.
As for Jackson, his IL placement isn’t terribly surprising after yesterday’s news that he may require Tommy John surgery. Although that surgery is not yet guaranteed, this move assures that he will be out of action for at least a couple of months. The 30-year-old had a tremendous breakout season last year, throwing 63 2/3 innings of 1.98 ERA ball, helping the club win the NL West and eventually hoist the World Series trophy. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to build on that campaign due to this injury. The club has bolstered their bullpen this offseason with the additions of Collin McHugh and Kenley Jansen. With Jackson landing on the shelf, O’Day will step in as yet another veteran presence.