Braves decline Darren O’Day’s option, making him a free agent

The Braves declined to pick up the option on reliever Darren O’Day’s contract, making him a free agent, the team announced Thursday afternoon.

O’Day becomes the 10th Braves player to enter free agency for this offseason. The others are relief pitchers Mark Melancon, Shane Greene and Josh Tomlin; starting pitcher Cole Hamels; catcher Tyler Flowers; infielders Adeiny Hechavarria and Pablo Sandoval; outfielder Nick Markakis; and outfielder-designated hitter Marcell Ozuna.

The Braves acquired O’Day, 38, on trade-deadline day in 2018, sending four minor leaguers to the Orioles for O’Day and starting pitcher Kevin Gausman.

The Braves wanted O’Day for future use. He was injured at the time of the trade and didn’t make his first appearance with the team until Sept. 7 of the following season. He made 27 regular-season appearances for the Braves, pitching in 21-2/3 innings. He was 4-0 with a 1.25 ERA, striking out 28 and walking six.

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, O’Day recorded a 1.10 ERA, with 22 strikeouts in 16-1/3 innings.

O’Day made five appearances in the 2020 postseason. He allowed no runs in four of them, but was roughed up for two earned runs in one-third of an inning in the other, an 8-7 Braves victory against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. Overall, he recorded a 7.71 ERA this postseason.