Jon Morosi reports that the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates are all showing some degree of interest in reliever Octavio Dotel.
While Dotel can still strike a batter out (10.55 K/9), his numbers against lefty hitters leave something to be desired. And that something would be outs. Left handed batters put up a .308 AVG and a .938 OPS against Dotel, contributing to a 2.08 WHIP and 5.09 FIP lefty split in 2010, which is only marginally worse than his 2009.
For the sake of the teams involved in Dotel rumours, let’s hope that “some degree of interest” refers to an uncompromising effort to keep him off their active roster.
An infinitely better option would be former Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls’ 7.32 ERA last season is largely inflated by his awful .399 BABIP, which is part of the risk you take in acquiring a ground ball pitcher. His 4.13 FIP is a better indicator of the type of season he had. At 32, there is some slight regression in his strikeout rate, but his bread and butter sinker hasn’t dropped significantly in velocity since his dominant 2008.
It should also be noted that Qualls’ 2009 season ended early when a Jason Michaels comebacker dislocated his knee cap, and resulted in a torn meniscus and quad muscle. From 2007 until then, Qualls put together a 8.38 K/9 and induced ground balls 57.3% of the time. Over that same period, he had slightly more success against left handed batters than righties.
Your sad note of the day is that for teams not wanting to overpay for marginally better relievers, this is what they’ve been reduced to: comparing Octavio Dotel and Chad Qualls.