How Darren O’Day got away

I know it’s easy to pick on the Mets right now, but I wanted to point out a small transaction the Mets made earlier in the year that has come back to bite them. In this year’s Rule V draft, the Mets made a steal of a pick by nabbing 26 year-old submarine righty reliever Darren O’Day. Here were O’Days numbers for the Angels last season:

4.04 xFIP, 3.64 FIP, 4.57 ERA, .335 BABIP, 54.9 GB%, 127 tRA+

In terms of the Rule V draft, this was an absolute steal. The Angels thought that their bullpen had enough arms in it for 2009 (they were wrong) and decided not to protect O’Day in the draft. To be fair, O’Day tore the labrum in his shoulder in September of last year, but the team doctor said surgery wasn’t necessary. Give credit to Omar Minaya, who wisely snagged O’Day and placed him on the 25-man roster to start the season after a solid spring training. O’Day had mixed results in his first three innings as a Met, giving up five hits and two unearned runs, walking a batter, striking out two, hitting another, and surrendering a walk-off hit. However, let’s be blunt: it was three innings of work. That tells you pretty much nothing about a pitcher, but apparently the Mets had seen enough. Nelson Figueroa needed to make a spot start, so the Mets designated O’Day for assignment, and the Rangers claimed him.

How has O’Day done so far in Texas? Unsurprisingly, very well. Here are his 2009 numbers to date:

4.15 xFIP, 3.35 FIP, 1.98 ERA, .233 BABIP, 40.3 GB%, 132 tRA+

Ouch, babe. Those numbers have added to .9 WAR on the year for O’Day. .9 WAR for a reliever is pretty darn high. The Mets $39 million dollar closer, K-Rod, currently has a worse FIP, tRA, and ERA than O’Day, amounting to just .2(!) WAR. I know it seems outlandish, but imagine the money the Mets could’ve saved by just going to a closer-by-committee (or picking O’Day) and not signing Rodriguez. Again, it seems silly, but there’s little question that it would’ve been the right choice looking back.

The other amazing part of this story is that the Mets decided to get rid of O’Day just to make room for a spot starter in Figueroa (whom would ironically eventually be designated for assignment himself). Just for fun, here are guys who have taken up one of those coveted 25-man roster spots for the Amazins this season:

Robinson Cancel
Casey Fossum
Jon Switzer
Andy Green
Elmer Dessens
Emil Brown
Ramon Martinez
Angel Berroa

How about that? Also, all the pitchers mentioned saw more time as a Met than O’Day, but apparently three innings was all the Mets needed. Granted, not all those guys were on the roster when the Mets made their decision, but the Mets could’ve sent down one of their guys who had options, cut Mr. -.6 WAR Jeremy Reed, or placed Mike Pelfrey, whom Figueroa was making a spot start for, on the DL (apparently the Mets valued one start of Pelfrey over keeping Darren O’Day in the organization, which is absurd). Anyway you cut it, it was a bad choice, and the Mets are certainly paying for it now.

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  1. Tom Seaver said...

    Another example of why Omar Minaya should be kicked to the curb.  Jerry Manuel should quickly follow thereafter.  Unfortunately, the Wilpons have more money than brains and enjoy being swindled out of their money, as evidenced by their involvement in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.  So, smart guy Minaya and genius Jerry will probably get another year.

  2. Evan Brunell said...

    Sure, it was a bad choice but look at that .233 BABIP. He’s not a 1.98 ERA pitcher. I do like that FIP and xFIP show his true value, however. And that makes him a very capable and cheap relief pitcher. The Mets missed the boat, indeed.

  3. Anais said...

    Omar has his talents, but marginal roster moves like this one sure aren’t among them. I can’t detect any rhyme or reason to his selection of backups, middle relievers and AAA filler guys.

    Why did he trade away Endy Chavez (essentially for Jeremy “Endy Chavez without the glove” Reed)?
    No idea.

    Why did he trade away every young, hard-throwing relief arm in the Mets system after 2006 for spare parts, then sign Scott Schoeneweis to a three-year deal?
    Who knows?

    Why did he trade Ryan Church for Jeff Francoeur?
    I think I know this one, but I wish I didn’t.

  4. RA said...

    O’Day has also benefitted from Mike Maddux moving his positioning on the rubber. Don’t know if that happens if he stays with the Mets but he still would have been better than the alternative.

  5. MatthewA said...

    I don’t feel that bad about it. Jerry Manuel would’ve undoubtedly screwed up O’Day by either using him too much (a la Feliciano) or forgetting about him for long stretches at a time.

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