According to MLB’s Anthony DiComo, the Mets and Cardinals are “strong players” for reliever Octavio Dotel.
Dotel, a Type-B free agent, would be a good choice. He’s a veteran reliever who has had experience as a closer and setup man in his career. His asking price would likely be in the $2-3MM dollar range for a one-year contract.
The one-time Met (He was 8-3 with a 5.38 ERA in his rookie season, 1999) would be a lock for the team’s 8th inning role. And should the Mets decide to take a flyer on Bobby Parnell in the ninth inning, Dotel would act as the safety net if Parnell can’t handle the job. The veteran setup man/ready-to-step-in closer will be an important role in the bullpen of the 2012 Mets. Then again, the Mets may simply choose to hand the closer’s role to Dotel from the beginning.
Andy McCollough of the Star-Ledger says the Mets showed interest in Jonathan Broxton, but felt his $4MM price tag was too high. They were right. Yes, he was an All-Star closer. Once. Over the past two years, the elephantine Broxton has struggled with injuries, and has been rather ineffective, posting 1.47 and 1.90 WHIPs in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Despite being 10 years older than Broxton, Dotel has been durable, tossing 67, 62, 64, and 54 innings in each of the last 4 seasons. And he’s been effective. He had a combined 0.98 WHIP for the the Blue Jays and World-Champion Cardinals last year, sporting an 11.7 K per 9 IP ratio. He also pitched well in the 2011 playoffs, surrendering 3 earned runs in 10.1 innings. Not that the Mets will concern themselves with the playoffs in 2012, but one can dream.
Dotel looked impressive when he debuted with New York in 1999. He had electric stuff, but never had a chance to show what he could do in Queens. He was traded to the Astros along with OF Roger Cedeno for LHP Mike Hampton and OF Derek Bell. Hampton helped the Mets win the NL pennant in 2000 before leaving for greener pastures and better school systems in Colorado. Now, the Mets have a chance to get Dotel back, to be the stabilizing force in a thin bullpen.
Granted, this could be a case of having a player before and after he was good, but given his recent track record, Dotel still has some ammo left in the chamber. In this offseason of bargain hunting, the Mets should attempt to sign him if his price remains reasonable.