MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Source: O'Day choosing between Nats and O's

Source: O'Day choosing between Nats and O's

WASHINGTON -- It looks like Darren O'Day could be staying in the Beltway. According to a baseball source, the Nationals and Orioles are in the lead for the services of the veteran reliever.

The Baltimore Sun reported Friday evening the Nationals were "the clear front-runner" for the former Oriole, and MLB.com was told that O'Day could sign with the Nationals as soon as Friday night, but another source said the Orioles were still in the mix.

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If O'Day were to join the Nationals, he would be the setup man they've been seeking since they traded Tyler Clippard to the Athletics before the 2015 season. O'Day was phenomenal for the Orioles last season, posting a 1.52 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings while making his first All-Star appearance.

O'Day, 33, has been in the big leagues for eight years and has a career 2.31 ERA, while opposing hitters have hit .208 against him.

Having O'Day on the roster could be a significant improvement compared to what the Nationals had last season. Their setup men included Blake Treinen, Casey Janssen and Drew Storen, all of whom were inconsistent. Janssen's option for 2016 was not picked up, while the Nationals are looking to trade Storen.

According to reports, O'Day is looking for a four-year deal. It will be interesting to see whether the Nationals give a reliever like O'Day a contract of that length. During the Mike Rizzo era, the Nationals have never given a reliever more than two years. For example, Rafael Soriano received a two-year deal from Washington before the 2013 season.

O'Day, 33, has been highly sought after after posting a 1.52 ERA in 68 appearances for the Orioles in 2015. He has a 2.31 career ERA in 459 relief appearances over eight years for the Angels, Mets, Rangers and Orioles.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.