Tag:Darren O'Day
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:59 am
 

Spring position battles: American League East



By Matt Snyder


Here we are for the fifth of six installments of spring positional battles. This one is the mighty AL East, the most polarizing and probably best division in the majors.

Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central

New York Yankees
Designated Hitter: Andruw Jones vs. Russell Branyan vs. Free Agent vs. Revolving Door

I still feel like the Yankees will sign either Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez or Hideki Matsui -- any of whom likely nails down this job full-time. But it's undecided as of right now, and wide open. Will Andruw Jones or Russell Branyan hit well enough to justify being the full-time DH? Maybe, or maybe they platoon -- as Jones hits from the right side while Branyan is a lefty. Or maybe the Yankees use bench players like Eduardo Nunez, Bill Hall and Chris Dickerson in the field while using starters like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher at DH a few times a week in order to keep guys healthy and in tip-top shape.

Tampa Bay Rays
No. 4-5 starters: Jeff Niemann vs. Wade Davis vs. Matt Moore vs. Six-man rotation

Talk about a nice "problem" to have. The Rays obviously have David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson as the top three in the rotation. While there isn't a big problem with either Niemann or Davis, it's time to find a place in the rotation for Moore and I'm certain they will. The 22-year-old left-hander was awesome in his limited time in the majors last year, including a stellar outing against the Rangers in Texas for Game 1 of the ALDS. Moore's already received the type of team-friendly contract Evan Longoria got when he was a rookie -- as Moore is signed through 2016 with club options running all the way through 2019. So the question is, do the Rays demote either Niemann or Davis to the bullpen or trade one of them? Niemann would be the trade candidate, as Davis also has a team-friendly contract with club options that take him through 2017. And I doubt this happens, but the Rays could always go with a six-man rotation. Seeing how this plays out will a big spring storyline.

Boston Red Sox
Shortstop: Nick Punto vs. Mike Aviles vs. Jose Iglesias

After trading both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie this offseason, the Red Sox are left with what appears to be Mike Aviles against Nick Punto at short. Punto had a good offensive campaign by his standards last season, when he hit .278 with a .388 on-base percentage. He only had six starts at shortstop, though, and his career numbers don't indicate he's worthy of an everyday gig at shortstop. Aviles also only started six games at short last season, and he only hit .255/.289/.409. He did hit well for the Red Sox, but it was a small 107 plate appearance sample. So the choice between Punto and Aviles is dubious defensively and neither is a good offensive option. Enter Iglesias, the dazzling defensive prospect. He's a dreadful hitter -- his line in Triple-A was .235/.285/.269 last season -- but it's not like Aviles or Punto are going to be confused with Troy Tulowitzki or anything. Maybe the Red Sox just plant Iglesias in the nine-hole and enjoy the exceptional defense?

Corner Outfield spots: Cody Ross vs. Ryan Sweeney vs. Carl Crawford and his health

Crawford is said to be questionable for the start of the season after undergoing minor wrist surgery a few weeks ago. If he's healthy, he starts in left easily while Sweeney and Ross battle it out for the right field job. If Crawford can't start the season, Ross and Sweeney are the corner outfielders, yet still fighting for the right field job for when Crawford returns. At some point, Ryan Kalish will return from offseason shoulder surgery and could eventually fight for playing time in right field as well.

Toronto Blue Jays
Outfield logjam: Colby Rasmus vs. Eric Thames vs. Rajai Davis vs. Travis Snider

We know who mans right field, but these four guys are competing for the other two spots. Thames in left field and Rasmus in center seem the most likely, but Davis will get a shot at either spot and Snider is in the mix for left.

No. 5 starter: Dustin McGowan vs. Kyle Drabek

This may bleed up into the No. 4 starter as well, but I'll give Brett Cecil the nod for now, since he is left-handed. The top three are Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez. So, for now, I'll guess the last spot comes down to McGowan and Drabek. McGowan was once a very promising young arm. He went 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 169 2/3 innings back in 2007, when he was 25. He then made 19 starts before falling injured in 2008 and finally just resurfaced late last season -- two shoulder surgeries and one knee surgery later. Does he have anything left? He was good in 12 minor-league starts in 2011, but had a 6.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in the small sample of 21 innings pitched for the Blue Jays. Drabek was a top 30 prospect each of the past two years, according to Baseball America, but he fell flat last season for the Jays. He had a 6.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and more walks than strikeouts for the big-league club. Even worse, he was knocked around for Triple-A Las Vegas, to the tune of a 7.44 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 75 innings. Walks, again, were an issue with Drabek issuing 41 compared to 45 strikeouts. Prospects Deck McGuire and Drew Hutchison could also figure in the mix eventually, but this feels like Drabek vs. McGowan heading into March.

Baltimore Orioles
The entire pitching staff: Johnny Wholestaff vs. Joe Allstaff

So let's see ... the following pitchers might have a chance at the starting rotation: Zach Britton (very safe bet), Jason Hammel (safe bet), Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland, Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Alfredo Simon and Tommy Hunter. That's quite a mix of pitchers to sift through, but the job isn't overwith yet, because we have to look at the bullpen.

Three pitchers -- Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg -- will compete for the closer job, with Troy Patton, Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day also being part of the bullpen mix. Of course, guys like Simon, Hunter and Bergesen will get a shot in the bullpen if they miss out on the rotation, too. There are more (Willie Eyre, Armando Galarraga, etc.), but I already named 17 pitchers vying for 12 spots.

We could probably move Simon and Hunter to the bullpen while eliminating Eveland from the starting mix, but that still leaves eight guys in competition. In the bullpen, Johnson seems the best bet to win the closer gig, with Lindstrom and Gregg setting up. Add Strop, Patton, Simon and Hunter and you have your seven. But, again, we've thrown out Eveland and there would still be three extra starters along with O'Day, Eyre et al on the outside looking in.

I'll say one thing: Orioles manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair won't be bored this spring. Maybe frustrated, but definitely not bored.

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Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Los Angeles Angels



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the entire schedule and past posts, click here.

While we slog through all the rumors and real-life moves provided by the Winter Meetings, we're here with your daily break from reality. This time around, it's the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Lineup

1. Erick Aybar, SS
2. Casey Kotchman, 1B
3. Howie Kendrick, LF
4. Mike Napoli, C
5. Mark Trumbo, DH
6. Mike Trout, RF
7. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
9. Peter Bourjos, CF

Note: Kendrys Morales is here, too, though he's been down with a broken leg for almost two seasons. If healthy, he figures in the DH/1B mix prominently, likely pushing Trumbo to the bench -- but I'd hear arguments for Kotchman to sit instead.

Starting Rotation

1. Jered Weaver
2. Ervin Santana
3. John Lackey
4. Tyler Chatwood
5. Joe Saunders

Bullpen

Closer - Francisco Rodriguez
Set up - Jordan Walden, Bobby Jenks, Darren O'Day, Sean O'Sullivan, Trevor Bell, Kevin Jepsen, Jose Arredondo
Long - Ramon Ortiz

Notable Bench Players

Hank Conger, Jeff Mathis, Alexi Casilla and that's about it.

What's Good?

The front of the starting rotation with Weaver and Santana is very good. The bottom of the lineup is pretty strong, relatively speaking, as those guys could be two-hole hitters on many teams.

What's Not?

There just isn't much exciting about this group. The middle of the lineup is thin, until Trout becomes a star. There is no depth and the rotation is a bit lackluster with Lackey and Saunders, at this point.

Comparison to real 2011

The real-life Angels finished 86-76 and 10 games behind the Rangers in the AL West. They hung around in the wild-card race until the last week of the season, too. While this team certainly isn't terrible, I feel like it's worse than 86 wins. Maybe they could approach .500, but there's just not enough here to be a playoff contender in this fictitious exercise.

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 4:41 pm
 

O'Day injury strains Texas bullpen

By Matt Snyder

Rangers relief pitcher Darren O'Day is headed to the disabled list with a torn labrum in his hip, reports ... Darren O'Day. Yes, gotta love the modern-day social media. O'Day posted this on his Facebook page Wednesday morning:

"Headed to the DL for a torn labrum in my left hip. Beyond that, I dont know much. Hopefully recovery will be quick, and I'll be back on the mound in no time."

Well, Wednesday afternoon, we know more and it's not good. He's headed to the 60-day disabled list and surgery is possible. (Dallas Morning News via Twitter)

With All-Star closer Neftali Feliz also on the shelf and Alexi Ogando in the rotation, that's three of the back-end bullpen arms the Rangers had planned upon by late March now not in the bullpen.

At present, the back-end has the ancient Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver -- who appears to be the top closing option with Feliz out. There are former starters Dave Bush and Brett Tomko as middle relief options. Pedro Strop and rookie Cody Eppley -- who looked good in his two-inning debut -- are left as the setup guys.

The bullpen hasn't been awful by any means this year. Rangers' relievers collectively have a 4.13 ERA, which is seventh in the AL. But now the anchor has been removed as has one of the better support men in O'Day (2.45 ERA in 7 1/3 innings).

To be very fair, Oliver, Rhodes, Strop, Eppley and Bush have been quite good -- albeit with limited time for some. It's just that as everyone gets bumped back one or two spots in his specific role in the bullpen, there's much less stability for the group as a whole. In turn, the starting pitchers may start to feel the strain as well, as they're expected to work deeper into games in hopes to not tax the new guys like Eppley and whoever replaces O'Day -- which looks like Ryan Tucker (ESPN Dallas ) -- or overwork the reliable veterans.

Feliz should be back by mid-May, and the guess is by then it will be a big reprieve from an area that evolved into a problem for the defending AL champs. If not, well, that's one deep staff.

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Posted on: April 24, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 3:27 pm
 

Without Feliz, Rangers have closer question

Rangers

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers headed into the 2011 season fully invested in Neftali Feliz as their closer, trading Frank Francisco in the offseason and moving Alexi Ogando into the rotation to start the spring.

That left a team formerly flush with potential closers in a bind when Feliz was put on the disabled list on Saturday.

In Saturday's save situation, Ron Washington turned to veteran lefty Darren Oliver (above, middle) to get the last three outs against the Royals.

"We've got no bona fide closer right now," Washington said on Saturday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It's that simple."

Feliz was. WIth a 1.08 ERA in nine outings with six strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings, Feliz was a prefect 5 for 5 in save situations this season.

Now, Washington could go with Oliver, Darren O'Day or Arthur Rhodes to close out games. Of the trio, Rhodes has the most closing experience with 32 career saves, the last coming with the Marlins in 2008. The most he's had in one season is nine with Oakland in 2004. 

The right-handed O'Day (above, left) had two saves for the Rangers in 2009, the only two of his career.

Oliver's save on Saturday was the fourth of his career. He had one last season and two as a rookie for the Rangers in 1994. He also set a record on Saturday, becoming the oldest Ranger to record a save. Goose Gossage had one at 40 years, 18 days in 1991. Oliver is 40 years, 199 days. But that record may not last long, Rhodes is 41.

"I figured if you're 40 years old, you're probably going to be in a lot of history books," Oliver told Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "This is probably just one of them. Just think if Arthur saves it tomorrow, he'll be the oldest one."

Ogando, 27, looked like a closer in waiting last season, pitching 44 games out of the bullpen. He had a 1.30 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings pitch. While the Rangers' toying with Feliz in the rotation drew many of the headlines in the spring, Ogando quietly won the fifth starter's spot and has been excellent. In four starts this season, he's 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA, picking up the victory against the Royals on Saturday.

Francisco saved 25 games for the Rangers in 2009 and two last season before being supplanted by Feliz. The Rangers sent him to Toronto in exchange for Mike Napoli, who is trying to help fill the offensive void left by Josh Hamilton. Since Hamilton was injured on April 12, Napoli has started five games, with hits in his last three, including a homer on Saturday. He's caught twice, played first twice and served as the DH on Saturday.

Either Francisco or Ogando would have given the Rangers something the trio of Rhodes, O'Day and Oliver do not -- a no-doubt, go-to guy in the ninth inning. 

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Posted on: January 23, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Rangers come to terms with O'Day

Darren O'Day Keeping with the weekend's apparent Texas Rangers theme -- the team has agreed with reliever Darren O'Day on a contract for $1.251 million, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets (and corrects the ammount with another tweet ).

O'Day filed for arbitration, asking for $1.4 million, while the club offered $1.05 million. O'Day was 6-2 with a 2.03 ERA in 72 appearances last season, but he struggled in the World Series and ALCS, giving up four runs in 2 2/3 innings in those two rounds of the playoffs.

Frank Francisco and Josh Hamilton are the team's remaining arbitration cases. Hamilton said earlier this week that his case is scheduled for Feb. 14.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: December 7, 2010 7:08 pm
 

Cubs, Rangers discussing Chris Davis trade

Davis The Rangers are working on a deal to trade first baseman Chris Davis and reliever Darren O'Day to the Cubs, as AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price reports.

No word on who would go back to Texas, but it's got to be a good return for the Rangers to move a potential power-hitting first baseman -- strikeout issues notwithstanding -- and a quality reliever in a market that is desperate for bullpen arms.

The Rangers do need a catcher and starting pitching, but there isn't an obvious fit from Chicago that jumps out. One possibility is closer Carlos Marmol, with the Rangers moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation. However, the Rangers were thought to have been waiting on the decision with Feliz until the Cliff Lee saga was worked out. Another option is catcher Geovany Soto but as one of the best young catchers in the game, coughing him up for Davis and O'Day wouldn't make sense.

From Chicago's end, taking a flyer on Chris Davis as first baseman is a fantastic idea, and O'Day would shore up the setup corps. Davis hit just .192/.279/.292 for Texas in 136 plate appearances, striking out 40 times.  He's already flashed his power potential in the bigs, however, combining for 38 home runs over 736 plate appearances from 2008-09. All that's holding him back are the strikeouts.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 4, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Bruce, O'Day among Super Twos

Brad Ziegler, the right-handed sidearmed reliever, is the lucky winner of the Super Two cutoff date this year with two years, 122 days of service time, according to the list sent to agents by the MLB Players Association. Super Two qualify for salary arbitration early.

The cutoff this season is lower than it has been in recent years, perhaps indicating that teams are getting more and more careful about how soon they bring up players in attempts to put off arbitration as long as possible.

Leading the list is Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, who has already been signed to a long-term deal, a deal that's looking better and better by the day for the Rays.

Here's the list:

Jay Bruce Player 2009 Club Total Service
Evan Longoria Tampa Bay 2.170
Jim Johnson Baltimore 2.165
Felipe Paulino Houston 2.163
Josh Fields Kansas City 2.159
Kyle Kendrick Philadelphia 2.159
Sean White Seattle 2.156
Ian Stewart Colorado 2.154
Dana Eveland* Pittsburgh 2.152
Luke Hochevar Kansas City 2.151
Armando Galarraga Detroit 2.148
Burke Badenhop Florida 2.143
Ross Ohlendorf Pittsburgh 2.139
Chris Perez Cleveland 2.136
Alberto Gonzalez Washington 2.135
Jensen Lewis Cleveland 2.133
Darren O'Day Texas 2.128
Jay Bruce Cincinnati 2.125
Chase Headley San Diego 2.123
Travis Buck Oakland 2.123
Brad Ziegler Oakland 2.122
*outrighted

It appears that this is the best news for Bruce, O'Day and Perez, who will likely get the biggest bumps in salary from 2010 to 2011.

Of all those players, Bruce (pictured) may have had the best season, hitting .281/.353/.493 with 25 home runs. Perez recorded 23 saves and had a 1.71 ERA as the closer for the Indians once Kerry Wood was sent to the Yankees. O'Day was a valuable member of the Rangers' bullpen, appearing in 72 regular-season games and 11 postseason games. During the Regular season, he had a 2.03 ERA.

All three of those players made $440,000 or less last season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 30, 2010 10:05 pm
 

Feliz sighting!

And here it is, photographic evidence that Ron Washington remembers Neftali Feliz is in fact in his bullpen:

Neftali Feliz

Feliz came in and pitched a perfect ninth, picking up his first postseason save in his first World Series appearance.

Granted, maybe he should've come in for the eighth in the highest-leverage situation, but Darren O'Day did get Buster Posey to end the eighth, so all's well that ends well.

Feliz struck out Pat Burrell (I know, shocker), got Cody Ross to fly out and then blew away Juan Uribe to end the game with a 99 mph fastball. He threw 13 pitches, 10 strikes.

Here were a few of my favorite (non-Chalupa) tweets of the night:

@MikeSilvermanBB : Righetti just told Mota he's embarrassing himself and the entire franchise walk Francoeur

@Ledger_NYMets : Neftali Feliz should change his name to Darren

@JPosnanski : They say the Masters begins on the back nine on Sunday. A Ron Washington managed game begins in the 8th inning.

@aandro : My assessment of why crowd seems quieter tonight. More corporate look. More rhinestudded jerseys means less real fans.

@Kevin_Goldstein : Ron Washington: "Who is this guy? Man I should use him more."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com