Darren O’Day: “I’d like to come back, for sure”

SARASOTA, Fla. - The last time that the Orioles were faced with a decision regarding Darren O’Day’s contract, the reliever avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a two-year deal with an option for 2015.

O’Day received $2.2 million in 2013 and $3.2 million in 2014, and the Orioles exercised his $4.25 million option for this season.

Here we are again. O’Day is one of 11 pending free agents on the roster and unsure whether the Orioles will negotiate another multi-year deal. So far, there have been no talks.

oday-set-sidebar.jpg“No, I haven’t heard anything. As far as I know, no,” said O’Day, a client of the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

“I think we had so many arbitration guys, that’s probably on the front burner right there, getting through all the arbitrations. We had a lot of arbitration guys. I’m a lower priority than that. I haven’t heard anything.”

Asked whether he expects the club to reach out to his agency this summer about an extension, O’Day replied, “I hope so. I’d like to. I’ve enjoyed my time here. We’ve won a lot of games. A winning organization. I’d like to come back, for sure.”

Some players prefer that their agent handle the business side of the game and not bother them with every detail. O’Day, who’s 17-6 with a 2.05 ERA in 205 appearances over three seasons with the Orioles, wants to stay in the loop throughout the process.

“Yeah, if there are negotiations, then I want to be part of them,” he said. “I don’t like to say, ‘You just take care of it,’ because I feel like that’s a lot of impact on your life that you’re just giving up to somebody else. So, if there was something, I would hear about it, but there isn’t.”

O’Day, 32, couldn’t have expected a team to give him two years and an option before the Orioles selected him off waivers from the Rangers in November 2011. He went 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 69 games the following season and remains a valuable cog in one of baseball’s top bullpens.

The first extension offered proof that O’Day, who posted a 1.70 ERA and 0.888 WHIP in 68 games last season, was a priority to the front office.

“I hope so,” he said. “I remember last time I expressed the gratitude for having a multi-year deal because, first of all, I never thought I’d play in the major leagues, and then to make it and play a little bit and make a good enough impression that they wanted me for multiple years was really exciting to me.

“Yeah, definitely something I’m open to again, but we’ll see. Climates change. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Those doubts stretch to the team as a whole with such a large number of pending free agents.

“Yeah, 11 is a big number,” O’Day said. “I don’t know. They’re resourceful, so they’ll figure out a way to keep the guys they need to keep. I’m not going to put myself in their shoes. We’ll see what happens.

“I’d like to see us commit to winning for a long time and I think this organization has been on the path to that the last few years by the acquisitions and kind of reinvigorating the minor leagues, so it will be an interesting year, for sure.”

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