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2016 Free agent profile: Darren O'Day

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Briefly a member of the Mets bullpen, O'Day has been incredibly successful as a reliever with both the Rangers and Orioles. Could a return to the Mets in 2016 be in the cards?

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Take a second and think back to the 2009 Mets. In the midst of a horrifyingly disappointing season, Darren O'Day's 4 appearances and 3 innings were probably not among those memories. Look back, however, and you'll find them on the ledger: 3 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs allowed, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts. That's Darren O'Day's contribution to Mets history, a short stat line accrued from April 9 through April 16, 2009. Now at 33 years old, O'Day is a free agent for the first time in his career and the sidearming reliever is set up for a big pay day. With a need at the back end of the bullpen, could O'Day's former employer in Queens bring him back in the fold?

After getting claimed off waivers early in 2009 from the Mets by the Rangers, O'Day went on to have immediate success out of the bullpen. O'Day threw 55.2 innings for the Rangers that season with a 1.94 ERA and followed that up with a 2.03 ERA over 72 appearances in 2010. After tossing just 16.2 innings in 2011 due to injury, the Rangers waived O'Day and he landed with the Orioles, where he only improved. Over four years in Baltimore, O'Day threw a combined 263 innings with a 1.92 ERA to go along with a 4.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 2015 was his most impressive season of all, as he struck out a career best 82 batters in 65.1 innings. Most importantly, he's been able to effectively handle both left-handed and right-handed batters, typically a tall task for sidearming pitchers.

In case you don't remember, O'Day was acquired by the Mets in the Rule 5 draft during the 2008 Winter Meetings from the Angels, who left him unprotected due to a torn labrum in his shoulder. After impressing during spring training, he made the Mets' Opening Day roster but lasted just two weeks into the season before the Mets designated him for assignment. The move was prompted by the Mets need for a spot starter for starter Mike Pelfrey, who only ended up missing one start due to a minor injury. O'Day's roster spot was taken by Nelson Figueroa who made Pelfrey's start and then was promptly designated for assignment himself one day later for lefty Casey Fossum. Thus, history was made.

Over at Fangraphs, their crowdsourced projections guess that O'Day will land a three-year deal worth $21 million on the open market this winter. With the issues the Mets had bridging to Jeurys Familia in 2015, perhaps a reunion with the righty would be a worthwhile investment (not to mention a way to right a previous wrong).