3.) A return for Darren O’Day
Darren O’Day is way more valuable to the Orioles than most people realize. During his four years in Baltimore, O’Day has logged 263.0 innings of 1.92 pitching and recorded a 23-8 record. In the two losses he took this year, he was done in by bloop hits and infield choppers. Zach Britton gets all the praise because he is the one recording the supposedly crucial final three outs. O’Day put out plenty of fires on his own in the seventh and eighth inning this year, and struck out 11.3 per nine innings. Not many sidearmers can boast that type of strikeout stuff.
O’Day also showed an ability to close in September. While those six saves could drive up the value of the 32-year-old right-hander, it’s a price worth paying for the Orioles. If Buck Showalter is willing to get creative with his bullpen next year, he could potentially deploy both Britton and O’Day as closer depending on the situation. Need a critical groundball in the eighth inning? Turn to the groundball machine, Britton, and let O’Day take over in the ninth. A closer-by-committee approach has rarely worked in the big leagues, but that’s because team’s that try that route rarely actually have two All-Star caliber relief pitchers with closer ability. If O’Day returns, that is exactly what the Orioles would have in 2016.