Darren O’Day: I was “really close” to signing with the Nationals

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At the press conference officially announcing his four-year, $31 million deal to re-sign with the Orioles right-hander Darren O'Day told reporters he was “really close” to signing with the Nationals instead.

Washington was linked heavily to O’Day from Day 1 of free agency and several reports along the way considered the Nationals as the favorites to sign him, but ultimately when the Orioles offered a guaranteed fourth year on the contract it was just too much for a 33-year-old reliever to pass up. O’Day revealed that the Nationals offered a higher annual salary, but for three years.

O’Day turning down a big three-year offer from the Nationals to take a big four-year offer from the Orioles isn’t exactly shocking, but the alternative may have created quite a bit of drama in Washington. There’s been speculation about the Nationals trading one or both of Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen for a while now and presumably if they’d succeeded in signing O’Day for three years and at least $8 million per season there would not have been room for all three right-handed, highly-paid relievers in the same bullpen.

Instead the Nationals turned to their fallback plan of right-hander Shawn Kelley, signing him to a three-year, $15 million deal, and the rumors will continue to swirl around Papelbon and Storen.