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The Yankees made the signing of Darren O’Day official on Wednesday and to make room for the right-hander on their 40-man roster, they let go of another reliever, Ben Heller.
O’Day, 38, signed a one-year deal with an option for a second year that guarantees him $2.45 million.
The signing leaves the Yankees roughly $9 million shy of the $210 million luxury tax threshold and they could still add another reliever, as well as Brett Gardner, who remains unsigned with camp scheduled to open in a week.
Heller was designated for assignment to open up a spot for O’Day. The Yankees acquired Heller in the trade that sent Andrew Miller to the Indians in 2016, which also brought Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield to The Bronx.
Frazier is in line to be the Yankees’ starting left fielder this season, while Sheffield was traded in exchange for James Paxton.
Heller, 29, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 and returned to pitch six games the following season. He also appeared in six games for the Yankees last year.
O’Day effectively takes Adam Ottavino’s place in the bullpen, with Ottavino sent to the Red Sox in a salary dump. He’ll join Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Chad Green at the back end of the pen following a solid — if short — season with the Braves, when O’Day had a 0.796 WHIP and allowed just two earned runs in 16 ⅓ innings.
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