Reds: Michael Lorenzen’s changing role may prompt Darren O’Day signing

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 07: Darren O'Day #56 of the Atlanta Braves delivers a pitch. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 07: Darren O'Day #56 of the Atlanta Braves delivers a pitch. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Darren O’Day could be an inexpensive option for the Reds if Michael Lorenzen is named a starter.

With the offseason underway and players beginning to negotiate contracts, the Cincinnati Reds cannot be left out in the cold. With the possibility of Michael Lorenzen joining the starting rotation next year, the Reds may have a big hole to fill in the bullpen. Darren O’Day could certainly fill that void.

O’Day, a 38-year-old submarine pitcher, who has spent the majority of his career with the Baltimore Orioles and most recently the Atlanta Braves, is now a free-agent after the Braves decided not to pick up his option for 2021. Last season’s performance indicates that the veteran still has some gas left in the tank.

The right-hander appeared in 19 games and was as close to perfect as one can get in the big leagues. In 16.1 innings, O’Day was able to punch out 22 batters while only walking five and gave up just eight hits. O’Day’s 1.10 ERA was a career-best and his 0.796 WHIP was the best we’ve seen from the veteran outside of his limited 2019 season where he put up a WHIP of 0.750 in just eight games.

Darren O’Day has always been underrated and under-appreciated. O’Day has more playoff experience than anyone in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, including a trip to the World Series with the Texas Rangers in 2010. If nothing else, O’Day could serve as a veteran leader in the clubhouse and among the young hurlers in the Cincinnati pen.

The Atlanta Braves turned down O’Day’s $3.5M option, suggesting he’s unlikely to find anything close to that on the open market. O’Day had signed with the Braves last offseason for $2.25M, and had the 2020 season been played under normal conditions, Atlanta likely would’ve picked up his option. Such as it is, teams are penny-pinching this winter and O’Day’s salary can be used elsewhere.

O’Day is 38 and has been so close to a championship multiple times with Texas, Baltimore, and Atlanta. With his time in the sport likely coming to a close very soon, Darren O’Day will likely be looking for one last chance to snag a ring.

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Darren O’Day had a firsthand look at Cincinnati this year in the playoffs, as the Braves defeated the Reds in the Wild Card Round. It is obvious the Redlegs need bats, but to bring in a player like O’Day on a cheap contract with Michael Lorenzen likely headed to the starting rotation could bode well for Cincinnati.