Darren O’Day, veteran reliever and one-time Texas Ranger, has announced his retirement, via a lengthy, thoughtful letter posted on Twitter.
O’Day, who turned 40 last October, is a name that brings back fond memories. A Rule 5 draft pick from the Angels after the 2008 season by the New York Mets, he was waived in late April, 2009, after just four appearances, and claimed by the Rangers. O’Day went on to have a great 2009 season, posting a 1.94 ERA in 55.2 IP, and followed it up with a 2.03 ERA in 62 innings in 2010.
2011 saw O’Day struggle to stay healthy, and to pitch well when he was healthy — one of the more fateful decisions made in October, 2011, was to replace Koji Uehara with Mark Lowe, rather than O’Day, on the World Series roster. After the 2011 season the Rangers waived O’Day, I decision I thought was short-sighted at the time — that said, the team seemed to believe that he was a gimmick guy who the league had caught up to.
The Baltimore Orioles claimed O’Day on waivers and he had a terrific four year run from 2012-15, putting up a 1.92 ERA in 263 innings over 273 games in that stretch. After putting up ERAs in the threes for the Orioles from 2016-18, O’Day spent 2019 and 2020 with the Atlanta Braves, pitched for the Yankees in 2021, and returned to Atlanta for the 2022 season.
O’Day ends his career with an impressive (for a reliever) 17.4 career bWAR, along with a 2.59 career ERA in 644 games. Best of luck to Darren as he hangs them up after a long, successful career.