O’Day has been more than OK

Did everyone get a Darren O’Day T-shirt last night?

In case you missed out, it says “O’DAYYY O’DAY O’DAY O’DAY”.

If that song is now stuck in your head, my work here is done.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he didn’t know about the T-shirt giveaway and asked what was written on it.

“At some point this year I might be singing that song, I hope,” he said.

If I’m O’Day’s agent, I’d do a wicked karaoke number with it during the next contract talks.

The Orioles hold a $4.25 million option on O’Day’s contract for 2015. It includes a $400,000 buyout.

O'Day-sidebar.pngSounds extravagant for a non-closer, but O’Day has been O’mazing. The guy’s numbers are just sick. To me, he’s worth every penny.

O’Day lowered his ERA to 0.92 last night with a scoreless ninth. He’s allowed one earned run in his last 26 appearances covering 29 innings, with eight walks and 36 strikeouts. He hasn’t permitted a run in his last 11 outings.

O’myyy O’my O’my O’my.

I was surprised when the Orioles gave O’Day the two-year deal back on Feb. 18, 2013, which guaranteed him $5.8 million including the buyout. They covered his remaining years of arbitration.

I figured they would settle that winter before going to a hearing, but a two-year deal? Not sure that many people would have predicted it.

(Side note: I was sitting at the Liberatore’s bar in Eldersburg when I learned via a source that the two sides were close to an extension. I tweeted it, grabbed my laptop out of my trunk and blogged it. So the actual agreement, which his agency announced the next day, wasn’t a surprise. But finding out they were nearing a two-year deal while sitting at a bar was the shocker. Me being at a bar? Probably not so shocking. But they have food, too.)

O’Day, who had previously earned Super Two status, filed for $3.2 million that winter, and the Orioles countered at $1.8 million.

Instead of splitting the difference, they worked out a two-year deal.

O’Day, 31, went 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 69 appearances in 2012, his first season with the Orioles, and pitched in five of the playoff games, allowing only one hit in seven scoreless innings.

Reporters would approach O’Day at his locker after each game, an ice pack strapped to his right shoulder, and ask whether he was available the following night.

“Of course,” he’d reply. “It’s the playoffs.”

The O’Day story begins with the Orioles selecting him off waivers from the Rangers on Nov. 2, 2011. They were in between the Andy MacPhail and Dan Duquette regimes, and Showalter jokes that he made the deal during the three days that he spent as general manager.

Talk about getting a hefty return on your investment. O’Day made $1.35 million in 2012 and he’s even better this season while earning $3.2 million.

“If you just throw a blanket over all the relief pitchers, you can make a case for there’s nobody in baseball having a better year out of the bullpen than Darren O’Day,” Showalter said. “This year it’s been left, right, switch-hitters. I doesn’t matter. Darren’s just been solid. You get your ERA under one with those amount of appearances, you’re not sneaking up on anybody.

“They all know what he features, they all know what he’s trying to do. When something is expected of you and you can still deliver it and when everybody knows what you’re going to do and you still do it and are still successful at it, that’s pretty impressive. That’s hard to do up here because there are no secrets. And Darren’s not 24 emerging on the scene and everybody’s trying to figure him out.

“Darren throws a few wrinkles in there to reinvent a few things along the way to keep them guessing. He’s not your sterile guy down there.”

His pitching lines are usually clean, in large part because left-handers are batting .182 against him this season, compared to .309 last year. Right-handers are hitting .175.

Would you pick up his option this winter or let him test free agency?

The answer for me is an easy one. I don’t need a three-minute review to come up with the right answer.

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