The Braves announced Friday that reliever Darren O’Day is set to begin his major league rehab assignment in Rome.
RHP Darren O’Day is set to begin his major league rehabilitation assignment today with the Rome Braves.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 5, 2022
O’Day hit the 15-day injured list with a strained left calf muscle a couple of weeks ago when he was hit by a comebacker against the Mets. The 39-year-old righty has been pretty bad this season, surrendering 10 earned runs over 21.1 innings pitched — good for an unsightly 4.15 ERA.
The Braves will likely DFA O’Day because there just aren’t roster spots available for a reeling veteran who seems to have lost a step, especially when you consider the Braves are going to have to figure out someone to replace with Kirby Yates making his way back.
This almost seems cruel. Lee is finally getting his first extended crack in the majors, and he’s thriving, pitching to the tune of a 1.61 ERA over 28 innings. Almost any other team wouldn’t even think about sending him back to Gwinnett, but the Braves have an embarrassment of riches in their bullpen, and Lee has options. Because of that, he might return to the Stripers when Yates is ready, but I think he’s done enough to force the Braves to look at other candidates.
Just like Lee, Jackson Stephens is having a breakout year in the bullpen. Entering last night, he had a 2.52 ERA over 35.2 innings. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be on a major-league roster, but somebody has to go, and Stephens will certainly be considered. Between him and Lee, I believe Lee is the better piece long-term. However, Stephens doesn’t have any options, so if the Braves designate him for assignment, he will be gone for good. There’s no way he will clear waivers, which is why I think it’s more likely the Braves will decide to option Lee than designate Stephens for assignment.