After recently trading relief pitcher Adam Ottavino to the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees found themselves in need of some bullpen help. They have reportedly addressed that need with the ageless veteran Darren O’Day.
Lindsey Adler of The Athletic was the first to break the news on Wednesday afternoon. Joel Sherman of the New York Post had the full breakdown of O’Day’s salary, which includes a salary of $1.75 million in 2021 with an option for 2022.
New York Yankees add Darren O’Day to the bullpen.
Now 38, O’Day has spent the last two seasons with the Atlanta Braves, finding himself on the free agent market after Atlanta declined to pick up his $3.5 million option for 2021. With the Yankees placing an emphasis on staying under the luxury tax threshold, O’Day’s contract helps keep the team in the market for additional bullpen pieces and/or the return of Brett Gardner.
A 13-year MLB veteran, O’Day has spent the majority of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, earning an All-Star nod in 2015 and posting a 2.40 ERA and 0.99 WHIP across 374 innings in Baltimore, with 424 strikeouts also on his resume.
His seven years’ worth of experience pitching in the AL East will come in handy for the New York Yankees.
One of the most attractive aspects of Darren O’Day’s career is his performance against right-handed hitters. O’Day has limited righties to a .193/.262/.287 slash line in his career, working a 27.5% strikeout rate and a 2.86 FIP.
In an era where bullpen arms are the most volatile group on the roster, O’Day has continued to be a dominant presence on the mound. Just last year with Atlanta, O’Day struck out just under 33% of hitters he faced, posting a 1.10 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and allowing one home run in 16.1 innings of work.
With a shortened 2020 season and full offseason under his belt, O’Day should be pretty fresh for the 2021 season. He may have just turned 38, but after pitching just five innings in 2019 and the recent lack of work, it could lead to many more dominant innings on a big league mound for the veteran reliever.
The signing of Darren O’Day is a good move for the New York Yankees who have now added yet another weapon to an already impressive bullpen.