When Andrew Friedman was hired by the Los Angeles Dodgers as president of baseball operations in November 2014, he stressed the importance of having pitching depth.
While Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi made a concerted effort to upgrade the club’s pitching staff, injuries (to the starting rotation) and inconsistency (largely within the bullpen) plagued the Dodgers last season.
This offseason Friedman again stressed adding pitching, which was widely presumed to be a reference to starting pitchers given Zack Greinke opted out of his contract.
However, the Dodgers can also stand to upgrade their bullpen — an area of the team that may not have done as poorly as perceived, and one that Friedman has referred to as “volatile.”
A reliever Los Angeles is said to be interested in is Darren O’Day. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the side-arming right-hander is seeking a four-year contract:
Sources: O’Day asking for four-year deal in $28M to $36M range. Most accomplished reliever on open market.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 18, 2015
Whereas quality fall back options are currently available to the Dodgers in the event they are unable to re-sign Greinke, the same can’t be said for the crop of free-agent relievers.
Contract terms O’Day is reportedly searching for compares to what Andrew Miller received from the New York Yankees last winter.
The Dodgers were believed to have interest in Miller, but Friedman’s vision isn’t one that lends to handing out a longterm contract to a reliever. Miller signed his deal as a 29 year old (turned 30 in May 2015), while O’Day turned 33 in October.
Since joining the 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 year 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.
Opponents hit a combined .198/.257/.283 against O’Day in 2015, with five home runs and five doubles in 257 plate appearances last season. O’Day’s four-pitch mix is comprised of a fastball, sinker, slider and changeup.
His fastball averaged 87.1 mph last season, with the sinker averaging 86.1 mph, slider at 79.3 mph and changeup averaging 79.1 mph. While it would appear to come at a significant cost, the 33 year old would shore up the setup man role that the Dodgers struggled to solve.
Along with Los Angeles, the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs have been among the teams with reported interest in O’Day.