Later today, the Orioles will announce the players they’ve given qualifying offers. Darren O’Day won’t be among them, and at midnight, he’ll be free to accept offers from other teams.
O’Day may be the best reliever on the market, and when he leaves the Orioles, he’ll be hard to replace.
The Orioles will look to fortify their bullpen this offseason. Even if O’Day stays, which is rather unlikely, they’ll have to find additional help.
There are two internal candidates to replace O’Day as Zach Britton’ set-up man: Brad Brach and Mychal Givens.
Let’s take a look at Brach.
In one of Dan Duquette’s best, least talked about trades, he snatched Brach away from the San Diego Padres in Nov. 2013 for Devin Jones, a minor league pitcher who found himself back to the Orioles organization this season.
Brach was a disappointment to manager Bud Black in San Diego. He struck out more than 10 batters per nine innings, but walked five.
With the Orioles, Brach has been quietly effective. In his two years, he’s 12-4 with a 2.92 ERA. While he still walks four batters per nine innings, Brach allows just 6.7 hits per nine, and his WHIP is 1.186. Brach continues to strike out more than a batter per inning.
In his two years here, Brach has shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Often, it seems that he gets the win when the team mounts an exciting comeback.
Manager Buck Showalter remarked several times that Brach had a better year in 2015 than in 2014, but looking at one key stat, it’s probably best if he stays in the sixth or seventh inning role.
In nearly a quarter of his appearances (15 of 62), Brach pitched at least two innings. He threw 79 1/3 innings, easily the most among relievers.
Brach also has a maddening tendency to allow inherited runners to score. While some fans have criticized Brian Matusz, who allowed 17 of 46 inherited runners to score, they don’t realize Brach allowed 17 of 29 to score.
In Givens’ limited chances, he allowed just two of 13 inherited runners to score.
Brach is eligible for arbitration this year. He’ll get a nice bump up from $523,000.
As the Orioles look for a new setup man, Brach will probably continue to do nicely, setting up that setup man.
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