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Braves decline to pick up Darren O'Day's option for 2021

The Braves have made their first decision of the offseason
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Darren O'Day is now a free agent after the Braves failed to pick up his option for the 2021 season, paying him a $500,000 buyout instead.

After making (full season amount) $2.25 million in 2020, O'Day was scheduled to make $3.5 million in 2021. Instead, he will not be one of the many relievers on the open market.

O'Day pitched in 19 games with Atlanta, going 4-0 and logging a 1.10 ERA (2 ER/16.1 IP) with 22 strikeouts. HIs 1.10 ERA is the sixth lowest in the National League among pitchers with as many appearances.

Teammates A.J. Minter and Chris Martin rank third and fifth respectively. O'Day missed the first 140 games of 2019 with a right forearm strain suffered in spring training. He was the oldest player on Atlanta’s roster. O'Day pitched to a 0.80 WHIP, the fifth lowest in the National League (min. 16 appearances).  

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The Braves were likely scared off by O'Day's age. He just turned 38 last week. With so many relievers being interchangeable, the Braves likely feel they can get someone younger and cheaper.

Atlanta got O'Day in a trade with Baltimore on July 31, 2018 with starting pitcher Kevin Gausman. The Orioles got minor leaguers Brett Cumberland, JC Encarnacion, Evan Phillips and Bruce Zimmermann, along with international bonus slot money. 

In his 27 games with Atlanta, O'Day had an ERA of 1.25 with three earned runs allowed on 11 hits in 21.2 innings, with six walks and 28 strikeouts.

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