Cutting Darren O’Day Was A Costly Mistake

An article by posted on July 4, 2009

You may remember that back on April 19th, the Mets purchased the contract of pitcher Nelson Figueroa from Buffalo to make a start against the Milwaukee Brewers. Figgy pitched a decent game allowing just three runs, but the Mets lost 4-2.

Immediately after the game, the Mets designated Figueroa for assignment and came close to losing him as Figueroa refused the assignment and opted to test the free agent waters. Nothing happened for Figgy so he sucked it up and went back to Buffalo. Figueroa is 3-4 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. In 76 IP he has allowed just 63 hits and has a solid 58/21 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was just selected to be the Bisons’ lone representative in the AAA All Star game. Wow…

One little tidbit that is missing from this drama, is that fact reliever Darren O’Day was released to make room for that one and only start by Nelson Figueroa. Remember him?

The 26-year old righthander was originally signed by the Mets after they selected him in the Rule 5 Draft in November. O’Day had a terrific spring and made the trip up north on opening day. He only appeared in four games for the Mets and pitched three scoreless innings before the Mets designated him for assignment.

Two days later he was picked up by the Texas Rangers and he is now one of the biggest weapons in their bullpen.

The young side-armer and former Angels top prospect, has established himself as the Rangers’ premier setup man and currently sports a 1.27 ERA. In 29 innings pitched he has allowed just 21 hits and 8 walks while striking out a whopping 27 batters. His 1.02 WHIP leads the bullpen and he has two wins, one save and nine holds for the Rangers.

Teams and GM’s make mistakes like this all the time. Every team can name one or two costly cuts they never should have been made. But what makes the O’Day cut so bad was how the Mets thought so little of him that they cut him just for one Nelson Figueroa start. In fact the Mets came close to losing both pitchers in a matter of 24 hours with nothing in return to show for them.

So every time you look at the mound and see a Jon Switzer or a Ken Takahashi, remember what we could have had instead.

Remember what we did have and let slip through our fingers.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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