UPDATE (Nov. 19, 7:25 p.m. PT): Having recently traded shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and reportedly making other players available, the Atlanta Braves were perceived to be a team entering a rebuilding stage.
However, that may not be the case, and evidence of that could have an impact on the Los Angeles Dodgers as it relates to their pursuit of free-agent reliever Darren O’Day.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Braves have entered the market for O’Day and Matt Thornton:
The Braves, according to major-league sources, are pursuing at least two free-agent relievers – right-hander Darren O’Day and lefty Matt Thornton.
Not only is Atlanta now part of the picture, some believe they’ll outbid other clubs for O’Day:
In fact, rival teams involved in the bidding for O’Day believe that the Braves might wind up making him the highest offer.
With the Los Angeles Dodgers’ managerial search winding down and the Winter Meetings rapidly approaching, the club is being tied to roster matters with more frequency.
Less than two weeks after president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said acquiring pitching will be a focal point this offseason, the Dodgers have been linked to talks involving starting pitchers and relievers.
One scenario has the Dodgers and Cleveland Indians holding preliminary discussions on a trade to send an everyday outfielder to the Indians in exchange for a starting pitcher.
Most recently, Los Angeles was said to be among the teams that contacted the Atlanta Braves to check on the availability of Shelby Miller.
Heard today that the #Dodgers are pursuing Darren O'Day "big time.'' It was the 2nd person in a week to mention it.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 19, 2015
As the most formidable relief pitcher on the market, the 33-year-old O’Day is said to be seeking a four-year contract in the neighborhood of $30 million.
The asking price is one the Dodgers, in one year under Friedman, haven’t yet paid for a reliever. There was reported interest in Andrew Miller last year before the price continued to rise, with the New York Yankees signing the left-hander at four years and $36 million.
Since joining the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, O’Day is 23-8 with a 1.92 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 3.05 xFIP, 0.94 WHIP, 12 saves and 65 games finished in 273 appearances. He’s appeared in 68 games over each of the last three seasons, and made his first All-Star team in 2015.
Last season O’Day appeared in 68 games for the Orioles, with 82 strikeouts and 14 walks in 65.1 innings. His 1.52 ERA marked the second consecutive season in which he finished with a sub-2.00 ERA.
The Dodgers were reported as having interest in Tampa Bay relievers Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee, both of whom would need to be acquired via trade.