Although the Chicago Cubs were rumored to be an early suitor for elite side-arm reliever Darren O’Day, when the price tag climbed into three and four-year, $7 to $9 million AAV territory, they seemed to turn their attention elsewhere (like trading for a reliever?).
That is to say, this is not so much about the Cubs as it is about just an interesting rumor/news/baseball market thing.
Earlier today, reports were in accord that O’Day had signed a four-year deal to return to the Orioles:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2015
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 6, 2015
And now confirmed O'Day agrees to 4-year deal with #orioles "pending medical review."
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) December 6, 2015
O'Day deal with #Orioles is pending medical review and is for 4 yrs $31M. Takes best rlvr out of fr agt mkt
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 6, 2015
So, then. Done deal, and a great one for the O’s from where I sit. Elite relievers – the ones that are consistently excellent in high-leverage situations, like O’Day – remain one of the most undervalued assets in the game, and $7 to $8 million per year for one of them is a bargain. Sure, every inning in the game counts, but when you’re able to apportion them among various pitchers, and give the ones that you know are going to be the most critical to a particularly killer arm (because the game is tied and late, for example), it can be hugely valuable.
But, well, O’Day says it’s not a done deal, despite the reports:
Contrary to the news, I have not reached an agreement with the O's yet. I am flattered by all the attention, but reports are premature.
— Darren O'Day (@DODay56) December 6, 2015
Not only is O’Day refuting the idea of a done deal, he’s saying he hasn’t even reached an agreement with the Orioles. In other words, he’s not just telling folks to tap the brakes in light of the medical review (which isn’t always a slam dunk with the Orioles, by the way). He’s saying he hasn’t agreed to a deal, which typically precedes the physical.
Why the deluge of reports to the contrary from guys who tend not to screw these things up?
That’s not a rhetorical question, because I have no idea. This is a very strange one, and not something I can remember seeing in recent years (in terms of the confidence and wide-spread unanimity of the earlier reports, and then a player publicly denying them like this).
Perhaps O’Day’s camp is still working on things.