Skip to content

Rangers castoff Darren O’Day comes up huge for Orioles

Oct 6, 2012, 12:57 AM EDT

Darren O'Day AP

A workhorse submariner who often pitched a couple or three innings at a time, Darren O’Day had a 2.78 ERA in his final three seasons at the University of Florida. And it’s not like he went unnoticed while amassing a 0.87 ERA in 10 1/3 innings before the Gators lost in the finals of the College World Series in 2005.

Still, O’Day wasn’t among the 1,500 or so players chosen in the 2006 draft after wrapping up his collegiate career. He signed with the Angels for next to nothing and then promptly went about working his way up to the majors, pitching at five levels over the next two years before debuting with the Halos in 2008. He wasn’t a huge success, but he hardly embarrassed himself by posting a 4.57 ERA in 43 1/3 innings.

Unfortunately, O’Day was diagnosed with a torn labrum at season’s end. The Angels, thinking he wouldn’t contribute in 2009, dropped him from the 40-man roster. He went unclaimed on waivers, but then the Mets grabbed him in the Rule 5 draft in Dec. 2008. He made the team after rehabbing his shoulder, only to be jettisoned after allowing two unearned runs in three innings.

That’s when the Rangers stepped in and grabbed O’Day off waivers. He gave Texas two great seasons, finishing with a 1.94 ERA in 55 2/3 innings in 2009 and a 2.03 ERA in 62 innings in 2010.

Still, O’Day never stopped being viewed as a fringe talent. After hip and shoulder injuries limited him to 16 appearances in 2011, the Rangers waived him rather than commit $1.2 million-$1.5 million to him for 2012. The Orioles picked him up, signed him for $1.35 million and then watched him amass a 7-1 record and a 2.28 ERA in 67 innings as a middle reliever.

On Friday, he pitched two scoreless innings in the wild card win over Texas. The only hitter to reach against him did so on an infield single.

Because he throws in the mid-80s and relies so much on deception, O’Day may well always be one of those guys who is three bad weeks away from the waiver wire. But at least he doesn’t have to worry about that right now. Barring a late injury here, he’ll probably be brought back for $2 million-$2.5 million next year, easily his biggest payday yet.

So, let’s hear it for O’Day, a guy appreciated by neither scout nor computer after college. Up to this point, he’s had a better career than all but six or seven guys picked in the first round of what was actually a pretty strong draft in 2006, and only next season will his career earnings surpass the signing bonus that No. 1 overall pick Luke Hochevar got from the Royals that year.

Latest Posts
  1. “Final Vote” balloting opens for 2015 MLB All-Star Game

    Jul 6, 2015, 8:27 PM EDT

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 03:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium on July 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

    And once again, there’s no A-Rod to be found.

  2. Pitchers and reserves for 2015 MLB All-Star Game announced

    Jul 6, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    All-Star Logo

    The starters for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game were announced on Sunday, so now it’s time to learn the pitchers and reserves who have been selected to represent the American League and National League at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14…

  3. Jacoby Ellsbury to be activated from disabled list Wednesday

    Jul 6, 2015, 6:13 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTdlNTkxMTllYmY4MjA1NTk2MDdkMWY3Y2VjYWEyYTBh Getty Images

    Jacoby Ellsbury has been out since May 19 with a sprained right knee.

  4. Sports Illustrated recreated shots from some famous baseball cards

    Jul 6, 2015, 4:26 PM EDT

    Image (2) OscarGamble1976.jpg for post 4350

    Note: without the ‘fro, Gamble is just sort of blankly staring at you. We know this now.

  5. Josh Harrison out six weeks with torn thumb ligaments

    Jul 6, 2015, 4:10 PM EDT

    Josh Harrison AP

    Harrison has struggled to duplicate his breakout 2014 performance.

  6. Matt Garza goes on Brewers’ disabled list with shoulder injury

    Jul 6, 2015, 2:51 PM EDT

    Matt Garza AP

    Garza signed a four-year, $50 million deal with Milwaukee last offseason .

  7. The Braves traded for a reliever from the Astros’ system

    Jul 6, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT

    braves logo large

    Mitchell Lambson is a lefty reliever who has split time at Double-A and Triple-A so far this year.

  8. Robinson Cano has been battling a stomach ailment for nearly a year

    Jul 6, 2015, 1:44 PM EDT

    Robinson Cano Getty Images

    His inexplicably bad 2015 is now somewhat exsplicable.

  9. The Braves may shop Cameron Maybin

    Jul 6, 2015, 12:24 PM EDT

    Cameron Maybin Getty Images

    Maybin is hitting .294/.363.416 with seven homers, 39 RBI and 15 steals.

  10. Billy Heywood from “Little Big League” was on “True Detective”

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:20 AM EDT

    Billy Heywood

    A Bill Heywood must be allowed to speak his mind.

  11. Video: Max Scherzer got messed with during his in-game interview

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 10.44.46 AM

    In-game interviews are usually dumb. But last night one was at least funny.

  12. Jayson Werth “is well on the road to recovery” from fractured wrist

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Jayson Werth AP

    Werth has been out with a fractured wrist since being hit by pitch on May 15.

  13. And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 6, 2015, 7:03 AM EDT

    Justin Verlander Getty Images

    Justin Verlander, doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (3733)
  2. J. Ellsbury (3693)
  3. M. Sano (3437)
  4. P. Corbin (3109)
  5. B. Harper (3080)
  1. S. Gray (2934)
  2. C. Gomez (2902)
  3. M. Moore (2892)
  4. M. Cabrera (2882)
  5. J. Soler (2810)