ATLANTA -- Darren O'Day’s long-awaited return proved impressive enough to earn him a chance to remain in Atlanta’s bullpen.
O’Day’s short stint on the free-agent market ended Friday when the right-handed reliever signed a one-year deal with the Braves. The former All-Star’s contract includes a $2.25 million salary for 2020 and a $3.5 million option for 2021.
By re-signing O’Day, the Braves have provided a glimpse into how the back end of their bullpen might look at the start of next season. O’Day will be reunited with closer Mark Melancon, who has one year left on his contract. Atlanta will also likely retain Shane Greene, who has one arbitration-eligible season remaining.
O’Day’s stint with the Braves has been unique. When he was acquired from the Orioles before the 2018 Trade Deadline, it was known he would miss the remainder of the season while recovering from hamstring surgery. The 37-year-old reliever then missed most of this past season because of a right forearm strain sustained during his March 1 Grapefruit League season debut.
Multiple setbacks caused O’Day to question whether he would ever pitch again. But his perseverance led to him being activated from the injured list on Sept. 5. The sidearm reliever allowed just one run over 5 1/3 innings (eight appearances) in September and earned a spot on the postseason roster. He retired five of the six batters he faced while making four appearances in the National League Division Series against the Cardinals.
There was certainly reason to anticipate this reunion. O’Day had targeted Atlanta as a place he would like to live long before the being traded to the Braves. In fact, six months before the trade was completed, he purchased his current family residence, which is located approximately 20 minutes from SunTrust Park.