Don’t Ask, Dotel

After losing some major pieces of their 2010 bullpen, the Blue Jays made a move to restock the other day by signing 37-year-old and well traveled reliever Octavio Dotel. While Dotel should be in the mix for the Jays closer’s job in 2011, he is far from an attractive mixed league option on draft day.

Last season, between the Pirates, Dodgers and Rockies, Dotel posted a 4.08 ERA and 4.20 FIP in 64 innings pitched. He still showed the ability to miss bats (28% whiff rate and 10.55 K/9), but continued to show issues with control (4.5 BB/9). While Dotel’s ability to get strikeouts is a positive, his issues with the home run ball will likely hurt him in Toronto, which is a good home park for hitters. Throughout his career, Dotel has been an extreme fly ball pitcher (50.2% for his career). Mix a fly ball rate of over 50% with a hitter-friendly park and the prospect of facing some of the American Leagues best offenses withing his division and you have a recipe for some rough outings.

Pure stuff wise, Dotel seems to be regressing a bit. His average fastball velocity dropped about one MPH from 2009 to 2010 and his off-speed offerings (slider and curve) both showed regression in runs above average.

Octavio Dotel has 105 career saves to his credit, but at age 37 his best days are clearly behind him. If he wins the closer’s job in Toronto, he’ll be worth a very late pick and maybe a few bucks in an auction, but it would be a bad situation to be using him as your second closer. If Dotel struggles at any point in the 2011 season, Jason Frasor will be waiting to pounce on the closer’s job and could very well be the better option anyway. If you can, try and avoid drafting Dotel in 2011.