NEW YORK -- When he was approached a few days ago by executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette about the possibility of being traded, reliever Darren O'Day was intrigued. The 35-year-old -- who is out for the season as he recovers from left hamstring surgery -- just wants
NEW YORK -- When he was approached a few days ago by executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette about the possibility of being traded, reliever Darren O'Day was intrigued. The 35-year-old -- who is out for the season as he recovers from left hamstring surgery -- just wants to win at this stage in his career. That's what made Duquette's offer of Atlanta such an easy choice.
"I've played for the Rangers -- we played in two World Series, we were one strike away a couple times from winning the ring ... we just couldn't do it," said O'Day in a telephone interview a day after he was sent, along with Kevin Gausman, to the Braves. "Ever since then it's been my goal to get back there and have the chance to do it again. That's the ultimate goal. I think that's why we play."
The O's netted four prospects -- righty Evan Phillips, infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion, catcher Brett Cumberland and left-hander Bruce Zimmermann -- and $2.5 million in international signing bonus slot money in the deal, which continues a rebuild for the club. O'Day, one of five O's All-Stars dealt this month, was a mainstay for an organization that had three playoff appearances in six seasons, including the American League East title in 2014.
"We had a blast. My favorite stop so far in my baseball career was the time I spent in Baltimore. We put together some pretty good teams for a while," O'Day said. "I think we eventually paid the price that is coming to fruition now, just from trying to compete every year. Eventually that's going to catch up to you, and the front office and ownership did what they thought was right. ... You can't argue with that. It's the business aspect of baseball, and us as professionals have to accept that."
O'Day, who will be in the final year of a four-year, $31 million contract in 2019, said he would have been interested in playing for most contenders. Having a home in Atlanta and plenty of former Orioles -- including Gausman, Nick Markakis and Ryan Flaherty -- in the clubhouse only adds to the excitement.
"One of my fondest memories as an Oriole, 2012, was kind of the year we brought back good baseball to Baltimore to a hungry fan base," O'Day said. "Atlanta is kind of on that upswing right now, it probably feels like that there. It's an exciting opportunity to get to do that again."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.