Friday, August 23, 2013

Octavio Dotel: The Journeyman

There are many different types of baseball players. There are the superstars, the scrubs, the minor leaguers, the journeyman. Octavio Dotel is all four of them. He has played on a record 13 MLB teams as a reliever. His career got started when the New York Mets signed him at the age of 19 out of the Dominican Republic to pitch for them. He spent 5 seasons before finally making the big leagues compiling a 44-20 record in the Mets minor league system in 92 starts. He struggled in his first big league season in 1999 going 8-3 but with a 5.38 ERA and a FIP of  4.90. Opponents only batted .226 against him but was able to get on base and slug the ball with an OBP of .340 and a SLG of .426.

The Mets felt like they had seen enough of him and dumped him off to Houston with Kyle Kessel and Roger Cedeno to the Houston Astros for Derek Bell and Mike Hampton. His time in Houston would be the longest he has spent with one team in his career (unless you include the Mets farm system). He ended up going full time as a reliever in 2002. He has the best season of his career in that same season as he appeared in 83 games and had a 1.85 ERA and FIP. Batters hit only .173/.239/.275 against him.

His time in Houston eventually went away as he was eventually traded as part of a 3-team deal involving the Oakland A's and the Kansas City Royals that sent Carlos Beltran to Houston. He struggled in his 2 seasons in Oakland with a 3.95 ERA which was awful compared to his previous 2 seasons with his final season being shortened by Tommy John surgery. He was eventually granted free agency after 2005 and signed with the New York Yankees where he pitched to a 10.80 ERA in only 14 games in a year that was shortened by Tommy John surgery recovery.

The New York Yankees let go of him that off season and he was picked up by the Kansas City Royals and had a 3.91 ERA in 24 games before being traded to the Atlanta Braves where he appeared in 9 games with a 4.70 ERA. He signed with the Chicago White Sox that year on a 2-year 11 million dollar deal. He pitched pretty well with a 3.55 ERA in the 2 seasons in 134 games.

In the 2009 off season he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates on a one year deal but ended up spending that season with 3 different teams as he was traded twice that year. He pitched to a 4.08 ERA that year and after a good 2009 he had seemed to be on the way back to being a great reliever but age caught up to him and he had a bad 2010. The Toronto Blue Jays decided to take in 2011 as he turned out to be a good signing as he had a 3.68 ERA in 36 games before he was traded to the St Louis Cardinals and pitched in 29 games to help the Cardinals win the World Series.

He decided to sign with the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 off season on a 1 year contract with an option for 2013. After helping the Tigers get to the World Series his option was picked up but he has struggled this season with a 13.50 ERA in 6 games and has been struggling with right elbow inflammation. But is this the end for Octavio Dotel?

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