UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes that while the Braves might have had initial interest in O’Day, it has “evaporated” as his asking price has risen.
11:04 p.m. ET: The Braves are in rebuild mode and don’t exactly fit the profile of a team who appears likely to invest in their bullpen this offseason, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is hearing otherwise.
The Braves, according to major-league sources, are pursuing at least two free-agent relievers – right-hander Darren O’Day and lefty Matt Thornton.
In fact, rival teams involved in the bidding for O’Day believe that the Braves might wind up making him the highest offer.
That’s a pretty significant statement, as O’Day is said to be asking for a four-year deal in the range of $28-36 million. Braves general manager John Coppolella was adamant that the team isn’t “tanking” in an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today earlier this week, so perhaps this pursuit is a response to the recent criticism. It might also change the conversation a little bit from a spending perspective, which can only help with the MLBPA. O’Day could be an option at closer for the Braves, though Arodys Vizcaino was pretty good in the role down the stretch this season.
Thornton won’t be nearly as a pricey. The 39-year-old southpaw posted a 2.09 ERA and 23/11 K/BB ratio over 41 1/3 innings with the Nationals this season. He’s more of a specialist at this point in his career.