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Nationals rumors: Front-runners to sign Darren O'Day

Darren O'Day could sign with the Washington Nationals by the conclusion of the Winter Meetings.

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

According to a report in the Baltimore Sun from Dan Connolly, the Washington Nationals have emerged as the front-runners to sign Darren O'Day. Connolly's report also suggests that the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves are involved and that the deal could be done as soon as Sunday, the day before the Winter Meetings.

O'Day has been the target of many teams this off-season, and it was once thought that the Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the front-runners to sign him. Furthermore, the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, and New York Mets had all been implicated as potential destinations for O'Day.

The Orioles' side-armer is coming off of a career year, posting personal bests in pretty much every category, including FIP, xFIP and strikeout-rate. It's no wonder then that the reliever market has materialized somewhat slowly, just waiting for O'Day to sign. He is the crown jewel in a free agent class that is deep but lacks any clear-cut star. Make sure to keep posted with all available free agents with our Free Agent Tracker.

If the Nationals do, in fact, seal the deal for O'Day then decisions on Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen will definitely seem a bit more forced. According to a report, the Nationals are still looking to trade both Papelbon and Storen. It's unclear whether O'Day -- who only has 14 career saves -- would become a closer with the Nationals, though he has certainly shown he is ready to. However, a bullpen with those three names in spring training might lead to a media circus that the Nationals would want to avoid.