The Braves announced on Friday that the club inked reliever Darren O'Day to a one-year, $2.25 million contract that includes a 2021 club option for $3.5 million.
O’Day, 37, was acquired along with Kevin Gausman by the Braves at the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline despite being injured (right forearm strain). He didn’t make his Braves debut until September 7 this past season. Across eight appearances totaling 5 1/3 innings, he allowed one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
O’Day had been one of baseball’s most underrated relievers for a long time. From 2009-18, he posted a collective 2.39 ERA with 543 strikeouts and 138 walks over 511 2/3 innings but earned only one All-Star nomination. Though he’s in his late 30’s and coming off of a major injury, O’Day has the potential to be a high-value arm in the Braves’ bullpen in 2020 and, maybe, 2021.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.
With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.
Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.
Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.