Over a week after the terms of the Orioles new contract with Darren O'Day hit the news wire, they finally made an official announcement about the contract on Monday night. There's no more physical to clear, no more contract details to settle. O'Day's period of non-Oriole-dom is over. He is back before he was ever gone.
The 40-man roster is full, so adding anyone who was a free agent means that someone must be taken off the roster. In this case, infielder Rey Navarro heads to the great DFA in the sky. He will chiefly be remembered on Camden Chat because my friend and fellow CCer Stacey Folkemer liked to call him All The Way Rey, after the character from A League of Their Own.
It's a nice reversal for the O's to keep their hands on one of the best relievers in the game over the past few seasons. When the offseason began, I figured he was a goner for sure, but the O's decided to go the extra mile and add a fourth year to the contract to beat out the Nationals.
Common wisdom is not that it's good to sign a 33-year-old reliever to a four-year contract. Time may prove that the Orioles should not have done so. But at the same time, O'Day doesn't exactly have the profile of the typical path to success for a pitcher, so age may not take him down in quite the same way as it can do to other baseball players.
One thing that's certain is that O'Day is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.52 ERA and a career-high 82 strikeouts over 65.1 innings. Another thing is that other O's relievers can't get enough of O'Day's presence as a leader in the bullpen and in the clubhouse. Add him to Zach Britton at the back end of the Orioles bullpen and the O's eighth and ninth innings are looking set for the near future, at least as long as everything stays the way it is for now.
O'Day's contract, with a total value of $31 million over the four years, calls for him to be paid $5 million next year. Good job keeping him, Orioles. Now go get someone else!