In the second installation of Where Are They Now (read the first about Nick Punto here), I will take at look at Detroit Tigers reliver, Octavio Dotel. When you look in the baseball dictionary and search for the term “journeyman”, undoubtedly you will find yourself a picture of Dotel. Playing on his 13th different team in 14 seasons, Dotel has certainly been around the block and back, including his stint with the St. Louis Cardinals last season and what a memorable three months it was for Dotel.
Dotel was one of the pieces that came to the Cards from Toronto in the deadline deal that included shipping out Colby Rasmus. The bullpen had been struggling mightily throughout the first half of the season, prompting John Mozeliak to make a big trade to bring in some arms. Dotel was immediately inserted into the 8th inning set-up role by Tony La Russa, and the move instantly paid dividends for the club. Dotel posted a 3.28 ERA with a .85 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in only 24.2 innings. Dotel was even nastier in the playoffs for the Cardinals, where he had a microscopic 2.61 ERA, a .68 WHIP and 3 holds. Dotel was unequivocally an integral part of the Cardinals run to the World Series crown.
In the offseason, in true Octavio Dotel form, Dotel found his way to a new club in the Detroit Tigers. Pitching as a combo 7th-8th inning set-up guy, Dotel has had another stellar season. He currently holds a 2.95 ERA with a staggering 52 strikeouts in 39.2 innings. Brought in typically to get right-handed batters out, Dotel has held righties to a whopping .212 average. Needless to say Dotel is getting the job done. In a somewhat bizarre split, Dotel has a 0.00 ERA in the day (18.2 innings) but a ghastly 5.57 ERA (21 innings) at night. The Tigers would do well to cancel night games and play day-night double headers to use Dotel only in the daytime.
When you take a look at Dotel’s entire body of work over his career, it’s actually quite impressive. In 12 of his 14 seasons, he has averaged more than a strikeout per inning which is a huge statistic for relievers who often come into games with inherited runners. Dotel will never be a Hall-of-Famer by any means, but as the the Cardinals can vouch, any team would like to have Octavio Dotel at the back end of their bullpen.