Major League Baseball reliever Darren O’Day announced his retirement this morning, after 15 years in the big leagues. Primarily known for his submarine-style delivery as a pitcher, O’Day pitched in 609 innings with 6 different teams throughout his career.
It’s been a wild ride that I never thought I’d get to experience, but it’s finally time to hang ‘em up. pic.twitter.com/CewsXhgBYz
— Darren O'Day (@DODay56) January 30, 2023
College Career as a Gator
From 2003-2006, O’Day pitched out of the bullpen for the Gators. He started out slow his freshman year, posting a 4.81 ERA in 39.1 innings. He had a bounce back sophomore campaign, posting an 8-1 record with a team-low 2.56 ERA. O’Day would lead all Gators’ pitchers in ERA from 2004-2006, while notching a team-high 8 saves during his senior season. A major highlight of O’Day’s senior year was saving three wins against the Miami Hurricanes on the road.
In addition, O’Day earned Academic All-District III honors as well as making the SEC Academic Honor Roll three times. Despite his success with the Gators as a pitcher and student, O’Day went undrafted in the 2007 MLB Draft.
Tough Start in the Bigs
O’Day signed with the Los Angeles Angels as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He performed well in the Angels’ minor league system from 2006-2007 and made the opening day roster in 2008. In his debut, O’Day pitched a scoreless inning against the Minnesota Twins in a 3-2 opening-day loss. O’Day would finish the season with a 4.57 ERA in 43.1 innings. Even though he made 30 appearances in 2008, the Angels left O’Day exposed in the Rule 5 Draft after the season.
The New York Mets selected O’Day in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2008. O’Day’s pitched in 4 games with the Mets, the team designated him for assignment two weeks into the 2009 season.
The next destination for O’Day was the Texas Rangers, where he performed really well. He finished the 2009 season with 68 appearances and a 1.84 ERA. The next season, O’Day appeared in a career-high 72 games and became an integral part of the Rangers’ run to the World Series. O’Day struggled throughout 2011 due to injuries and was waived by the team after the season.
The Years in Baltimore
In November 2011, the Baltimore Orioles picked up O’Day on waivers. He would have his most productive stretch in his big-league career. From 2012-2015, O’Day pitched in 263 innings with a 1.92 ERA, including his 2015 All-Star season. In 2015, O’Day pitched in 68 games and compiled a 1.52 ERA. As a result of his excellent 2015 season, O’Day signed a 4-year contract worth $31M with the Orioles. O’Day made 118 appearances in his last three years with the Orioles, before going down with a season-ending injury in 2018.
On July 31, 2018, the Atlanta Braves acquired Darren O’Day in a trade that also brought pitcher Kevin Gausman. Despite missing time due to injury in Atlanta, O’Day was still solid in his 27 games from 2019-2020. After the 2020 shortened season, O’Day signed a two-year contract with the New York Yankees. However, O’Day continued to be hampered by injuries and pitched in only 12 games in 2021. In his final season, O’Day pitched in 28 games, but fell to another season-ending injury during the year.
Overall, Darren O’Day had a very solid career as a reliever in the big leagues. Over 15 seasons and 609 innings pitched, O’Day had a career ERA of 2.59 with one All-Star appearance in 2015.