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Updated: Nats still in the mix for O’Day

Dec 6, 2015, 2:44 PM EST

USA Today

UPDATED 2:45 p.m.

Though multiple reports had top free agent reliever Darren O’Day re-signing with the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, the right-hander has now clarified he has not made his decision quite yet.

The contract was said to be a four-year deal worth $31 million. O’Day turned 33 in October and the Nationals have been reluctant to give him four years throughout their negotiations.

O’Day appears to still be available, though Ryan Madson – who was considered the second-best free agent reliever – signed with Oakland on Sunday.

Beyond O’Day and Madson, Joakim Soria, Tyler Clippard, Antonio Bastardo, Shawn Kelley and Tony Sipp are the best relievers in this year’s class. Overall, it’s a relatively thin market at the position.

The Nationals added veteran lefty Oliver Perez late last week on a two-year deal. But they still have plenty of decisions to make regarding their bullpen.

The Nationals’ relief corps will be a hot topic at the Winter Meetings, which begin on Monday. They are still interested in exploring trades involving both Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen. They also plan to add several more arms either through free agency or trades.

The Nats have been considered one of the finalists for O’Day along with the Orioles, where he has pitched the last four seasons, and the Atlanta Braves.

  1. JayB - Dec 6, 2015 at 12:19 PM

    Suck….Rizzo’s weak link breaks yet again…..No Chapman 5 years ago or so because he could not bring himself to pay market value and no O’Day now because the O’s will pay but Nats will not!

    Window sure has closed fast on Rizzo and the Nats as I said it would. Now they are on the outside of the NL and NL east even looking in with not key.

    Had to have this guy….had to!

    • letsallbaseball - Dec 6, 2015 at 12:24 PM

      Two things:

      Nats were reportedly the high bidder for Chapman until the Reds swooped in at the last minute and grabbed him. Pretty sure they did what they could on that one. Do teams even know what the other bids are in that situation? I’m not super familiar. Besides, how are you still going to call back a 5 year old situation? Is that something you’ll hold on to forever?

      Nats offered O’Day more per year and the O’s didn’t even offer the fourth year until the “eleventh hour”. As much as I wanted O’Day, sometimes you have to stick to your plan of not offering the fourth year to a 33 year old.

      I want to see Rizzo go out and trade for Andrew Miller but NY will want something good.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 6, 2015 at 7:06 PM

        The Chapman deal was a sealed, one-shot bid. No counter offers. So no, they were dealing blind, and Rizzo made a perfectly good offer. It just wasn’t the best offer. In the five years in question, the Reds have won their division once, won a wild-card spot once, and won no playoff series. So there’s that.

      • Guapo - Dec 7, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        That’s exactly the problem.

        If I guy wants four years, and you want to have him, you make him the four year offer out of the box. Not at the 11th hour.

        O’Day was the guy, Rizzo screwed the pooch on this one. This was a slam dunk and he blew it.

    • adcwonk - Dec 7, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      Awesome! So, if I understand you: the Nats were idiots to sign RZ through age 35, idiots to sign Werth through age 38 — and are idiots for *not* signing a 33 year old pitcher to a four year deal.

      • Guapo - Dec 7, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        Individually, neither the RZ or worth signings were awful, but together they are a major drag on this teams finances and flexibility. Two aging players at non-premium defensive positions whom are often injured and getting older. That’s a brutal mix.

        Werth is a huge roadblock right now in the Nats pursuit of a leadoff guy. Werth and JZim hamper their ability to get another LHB into the mix.

        I get why both deals were done. One out of desperation to build a winning culture, and the other to build an organizational foundation. Both have been net positives.

        Signing O’Day might be a bad move on the back end, but the Nats have three years to win a WS before Harper’s contract is up. If they want to keep him for the long haul (which they should) they need to win, that’s what the kid wants, a ring.

        We take a page from the Marlins’ handbook and go all in for the next three seasons. It’s likely that 2019 wuld be a firesale year, leaving the franchise with a complete rebuild around Harper, and that’s OK. Especially if it brings a WS title to the club before that.

        The future of this franchise depends on winning now. Rizzo and the Lerners need to commit to that, or end up being the Oriels.

  2. Doc - Dec 6, 2015 at 12:19 PM

    Like many teams with over-paid veterans. the O’s will come to regret O’Day’s signing.

    • veejh - Dec 6, 2015 at 12:30 PM

      Agree. In the short term he would have been great. The third and fourth years are questionable. I’m not mad.

      • JayB - Dec 6, 2015 at 12:55 PM

        you mean like Werth, Zim….yea you over pay at the end of a contract….is that news? This window is closed for the most part because Rizzo just can not pull the trigger on quality relief pitching at market value.

      • letsallbaseball - Dec 6, 2015 at 1:02 PM

        Hey JayB did I miss something? Did the season already start and no more moves can be made?

      • veejh - Dec 6, 2015 at 1:08 PM

        Too many of those and you end up like the Phils.

  3. donniebenth - Dec 6, 2015 at 12:21 PM

    Bummer. But four years is a long contract for someone his age.

    Does Rizzo now intensify his pursuit, through trade, of a top shelf fireman?

    Would MAT and Cole be enough for Chapman?

    • shawndc04 - Dec 6, 2015 at 12:35 PM

      But with no Span and no MAT who would play center? I suppose Harp could go there, but I don’t think that Robinson or MdD are everyday players in right.

      • letsallbaseball - Dec 6, 2015 at 12:36 PM

        Oh god please keep Robinson on the bench. Is Parra good enough to play every day? Guess he’d okay right, but that would push Harp to center which they seem to be against. Then you only have den Dekker backing up and that looks a lot worse than Taylor + dD

    • virginiascopist - Dec 6, 2015 at 12:52 PM

      I don’t know if Rizzo is still considering Chapman, but first, Cincinnati’s price is going to have to come down. Second, he will need to most likely trade both Pap and Storen or else we’ll be stuck with three pitchers who will refuse anything other than a 9th inning role — well, actually, two who will refuse and one who will probably accept it and sulk about it.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 6, 2015 at 7:21 PM

      Clearly not, or Chapman would have been gone last season. The Reds, by most reports, are looking more at the Trea Turner + Lucas Giolito for Chapman level, hence, he’s still with Cincinnati.

      • unkyd59 - Dec 6, 2015 at 8:01 PM

        No no no… No selling the farm for ONE year of anybody… No.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 6, 2015 at 11:59 PM

        Obviously, I wasn’t promoting that deal, just suggesting that the Reds were probably looking for that level of return, at least before now. They may well lower the price.

  4. letsallbaseball - Dec 6, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    From Heyman:

    “Nats made big push on o’day. Harper, Werth, remaining zimmerman all called him. Close call for him.”

    They tried

  5. exposedindc - Dec 6, 2015 at 1:04 PM

    Sometimes you have to give something that make sense now and not 3 years from now, the Nationals window is closing and I would rather have the best available reliever for the next 2 years and take my chances down the road than put my faith in the incredibly terrible Blake Treinen

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 6, 2015 at 7:26 PM

      There is no window. They play games every season, and the team that wins the most finishes in first place. Every year.

      • rabbit433 - Dec 7, 2015 at 7:51 AM

        That’s right. Look at the Mets. They could have, should have, folded before last season began, but look where they ended up after they played all the games. Look where the Nationals ended up after the games were played….”where’s my ring”!

  6. veejh - Dec 6, 2015 at 1:41 PM

    O’Day tweets he hasn’t decided anything yet. Reporters jumping the gun once again. What’s going on around here?

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/washington-nationals

    • ArVAFan - Dec 6, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS · 5m5 minutes ago
      O’Day tweeted to say it’s premature he has deal. explanation: there’s agreement at 31M/4 but o’s physicals r not sure things

    • natsfan1a - Dec 6, 2015 at 1:54 PM

      Below is snippet from MLB Trade Rumors. So, Heyman knows better than the player himself? I guess, maybe, that’s possible?

      O’Day himself tweets that the deal is not yet complete. “Contrary to the news, I have not reached an agreement with the O’s yet,” he says. “I am flattered by all the attention, but reports are premature.” Heyman clarifies (Twitter links) that one explanation might be that O’Day hasn’t yet taken a physical, and physicals given by the Orioles have sometimes not turned out as the players taking them have imagined. The two sides do have a deal, Heyman writes.

  7. Doc - Dec 6, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    The O’s physical on a 33 yr. old reliever–I’d be fun to see that one!

    The Nats of the recent past would ignore everything except maybe a broken bone!

    • ArVAFan - Dec 6, 2015 at 3:33 PM

      And that’s a big maybe on the broken bone.

  8. Drew - Dec 6, 2015 at 4:16 PM

    So maybe this year’s Nats splash will be a monster deal for Chapman and Bruce.

    Probably not, but who expected the Scherzer signing?

  9. realdealnats - Dec 6, 2015 at 6:07 PM

    Is it true we have 4 number 1 picks in this year’s draft? I’m probably crazy. I know I’ve been busy and out of touch. But if so, what value do they hold in a trade for a top flight reliever? I know a trade for Chapman would involve the likes of Giolito or somesuch… Also are we interested at all in Cespedes?

    • virginiascopist - Dec 6, 2015 at 6:42 PM

      At the moment we have one pick in the first round and one pick in the compensation round (between rounds 1 and 2). If Ian Desmond signs with a team other than the Nats (before the June draft), we will get another pick in the compensation round. If we end up signing a player with a qualifying offer attached to them, we will lose our first round pick. Unlike in the NFL, draft picks cannot be traded.

      I hear the Dodgers are working on a deal for Chapman so if it goes through it will be interesting to see what they have to give up. I would not be at all surprised if the Reds asked for Giolito or something like two of our top ten prospects so it’s likely they’re expecting a similar-type haul from whatever team they’re negotiating with.

      Regarding Cespedes, although he would not cost our first-round pick because he could not be given a qualifying offer after being traded mid-season, I do have not heard that he is on Rizzo’s radar. I would like to think the focus would be on a left-handed outfielder to try to balance the lineup. I believe if Rizzo does want to look for a right-handed bat, it would more likely be Justin Upton as he has a connection with him from his days in Arizona.

  10. chaz11963 - Dec 6, 2015 at 6:13 PM

    Possibly the Dodgers move on Chapman may have changed the equation for the Nats on ODay.

    • veejh - Dec 6, 2015 at 6:49 PM

      Interesting take.

    • letsallbaseball - Dec 6, 2015 at 7:48 PM

      What do you think? Nats trade for Jansen if Dodgers get Chap?

      • veejh - Dec 6, 2015 at 8:17 PM

        No way the Dodgers trade Jansen. Just my take. They’re thinking like Rizzo last season, and we know how that worked out. I hope they end up in the same clusterf*** as us by having 2 closers on the same roster.

  11. veejh - Dec 6, 2015 at 6:58 PM

    So, does anyone have the correct story right now? Last thing from O’Day is that he hasn’t decided, and there’s other’s, like MLB.com, that are reporting it’s done. Anyone?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 6, 2015 at 7:14 PM

      I’m assuming there’s a deal in place pending a physical. But, given recent O’s approach to physicals, no one wants to say that out loud.

      • therealjohnc - Dec 6, 2015 at 8:22 PM

        It’s very strange – if there was a deal, why would O’Day publicly say there is no deal?

      • trfwans - Dec 6, 2015 at 9:11 PM

        O’Day did not say the reports of a deal were wrong. He said they were premature. There’s a big difference there. He’s saying that correct information got released too soon, not that incorrect information was released.

      • therealjohnc - Dec 7, 2015 at 9:08 AM

        No, he didn’t say that there is no deal – he said that there is no “agreement.” Hard to parse that any other way.

        I still think he signs with the O’s; I’m betting on Angelos’s pettiness/vindictiveness to open his purse strings where he usually wouldn’t. But it’s still weird.

    • letsallbaseball - Dec 6, 2015 at 8:24 PM

      From Pete Kerzel (who is worth a twitter follow and worth reading on MASN):

      “Orioles exec Dan Duquette now saying there is work to be done before deal with O’Day is completed, per @masnRoch”

      I’m resigning myself to O’Day going to the O’s but there’s always the chance of the Nats pulling the twelfth hour move after the Orioles pulled the eleventh hour sneak attack.

      • veejh - Dec 6, 2015 at 8:28 PM

        Hmmmmm…..just don’t overbid to win this battle over the Os. Maybe the Lerner’s are taking this personally and refuse to lose because of the MASN deal? It’s their money, so I guess I don’t care.

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