Despite my vehement objections, reports indicate that the Toronto Blue Jays have gone ahead and signed ROOGY Octavio Dotel to a one year contract that guarantees the closer candidate $3.5 million dollars, and could be worth $6.5 million over two years.

Just to rehash my opinion one more time, Dotel is a great pitcher when facing right handed batters, but against lefties, he is among the worst in all of baseball (FIP the last three seasons: 5.09, 7.38, 5.46).  If the team isn’t using Dotel situationally, it shouldn’t be using Dotel at all.  It then becomes an issue of paying Dotel $3.5 million to be a situational right hander.

Scott Richmond, whose career 1.00 WHIP, 3.86 FIP against right handers, could do just as good of a job as Dotel and get paid the league minimum.  What Richmond doesn’t offer that Dotel does is a potential draft pick reward at the end of a successful season.

Assuming that Dotel attains Type B status, and not a leprous Type A that would almost guarantee the option on his contract getting picked up, or him accepting arbitration after the option is declined, the Jays will receive a draft pick after the fiftieth pick has already been taken.

Considering the drop off in value by pick 50, and the values that Victor Wang came up with for draft pick ranges, paying $3.5 million for a Type B pick makes no sense whatsoever.  It’s the equivalent of buying a $350 lottery ticket whose top prize is a chance at a $75 lottery ticket.

The best case scenario with Dotel is that the Blue Jays can trade him in for prospects before having to deal with his buyout or offering arbitration.  But as we saw during this year’s deadline, that’s much easier said than done.  I just can’t wrap my head around how this deal makes sense at all.

And The Rest

Bobby Jenks may not be Ozzie Guillen’s biggest supporter.  And oddly enough, Ozzie’s son isn’t a big fan of Bobby Jenks.  I can’t wait for the May 30th Sox on Sox series.

C.C. Sabathia’s weight lined up in baseballs from home plate.  No, I’m not joking.

Andy Pettite is leaning toward retirement through textual innuendo.

Matt Kemp is now free to pursue success at the Major League level once again.

Let’s systematically destroy all reasoning for Jack Morris’ place in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

And while we’re at it, we’ll compare Jim Rice to . . . . . Chet Lemon?

Peter Gammons makes his case for Jeff Bagwell.

Jeff Francis’ agent would now like to have a few words with his client.

I’m really looking forward to the debut of the Craig Kimbrel show.

On his latest podcast, Jonah Keri speaks with Derek Zumsteg, author of The Cheater’s Guide to Baseball, former contributor to Baseball Prospectus and USS Mariner, up-and-coming science fiction writer, and beer connoisseur.

Finally, there’s always room for Gingerbread Fenway Park.

Comments (24)

  1. Dotel was traded last year for 2 solid prospects in James McDonald & Andrew Lambo, so I’m confused by -

    “The best case scenario with Dotel is that the Blue Jays can trade him in for prospects before having to deal with his buyout or offering arbitration. But as we saw during this year’s deadline, that’s much easier said than done”

    The Blue Jays have holes in their bullpen that they are willing to shore up by spending money – how can this be seen as a bad thing? It’s not like he’s going to block a stable of young arms waiting for their chance to relieve…

  2. I’m with you Ari. I see Dotel as a possible valuable trading chip later in the season and another arm to plug into a very depleted bullpen.
    My opinion will be different however if he becomes the closer by default.

  3. First I think you’re overrating a 26 year old who has had no success at the Major League level and a suspended juicer who likely projects as a future DH, if he ever finds enough power.

    Secondly, the deal, when it happened, was largely seen as a steal for the Pirates.

    There are plenty of young arms that are being blocked by giving Dotel this opportunity. Read the comments from the last post on Dotel, all of the Jays righties are listed.

  4. James McDonald is a stud, you mark my words.

    That said, look at the Dodgers trading record and tell me, with a straight face, they’re a fair comparison for what actually happens on the trade market.

  5. McDonald was 25. Are you telling me that by July of 2012 if Zach Stewart isn’t a rotation mainstay that he’s lost all his value? Come on. And you are completely off on Andrew Lambo – he’s an athletic toolsy type player who was suspended for drugs of abuse – he’s not some thumper who juiced to post gaudy numbers. Heading into 2010 it was between him and Dee Gordon as the best position prospect in the Dodgers system, and most felt Lambo had significantly more offensive potential. Heading into 2009 McDonald & Lambo were 1-2 in BA’s LAD top 10 prospect rankings.

    The fact that it was a “steal” for the Pirates doesn’t change the reality that relievers CAN be traded for prospects at the deadline, and consistently are. That AA chose not to move Gregg, Frasor & Downs isn’t proof otherwise.

    The comments from the last post on Dotel are ridiculous. The only reliever the Jays have with Dotel’s track record is Frasor, and I don’t see any young arms being blocked by a Dotel acquisition. If somebody needs to make the MLB roster, Dotel isn’t blocking him. Mediocrity named Janssen, Camp, and Villanueva is taking up that role.

    Complaining about this signing is downright silly.

  6. If trading a reliever comparable to Dotel for a prospect haul at the deadline is so common, please point out all the others.

    Looking at it again, Lambo’s suspension was for a drug of abuse, not steroids. Still, BA calls him a substandard outfielder, and his fielding numbers attest to it. How is he toolsy?

    2009 rankings mean nothing

    Talking about Dotel without looking at his horrendous splits is silly. Paying $3.5 million for a guy who pitches like that to be your closer simply because he’s done it before is insane.

    As I say in the post, Scott Richmond can get out right handed pitchers too. It’s not really an area of concern. Even Chad Qualls would’ve been a better, cheaper option.

  7. The problem is that there’s a good chance the Jays will use Dotel as a closer, which is a TERRIBLE idea. Successful closers keep their walks down and are good against hitters on both sides of the plate; two things Dotel does not do…at all. This is why he hasn’t been a quality closer in years (him closing for the Pirates last year does not count considering it’s the Pirates and they had precious few other options).

    I don’t have THAT big a problem with the signing only because it’s only one guaranteed year for a relatively small amount of money, but Dustin’s right, it’s more money than was needed to fill the roll.

    If John Farrell uses Dotel as a ROOGY in the seventh and eighth innings and maybe to close games on right-handed-heavy lineups this could end up being a good signing (provided he’s not so good that he gets Type-A status next year).

    The problem is that the Jays will likely at least try him in the closer’s role which will be disastrous.

  8. You all should read this site called Drunk Jays Fans. They explained why this is OK.

  9. Also (or firstly, depending on whether my last comment disappeared or not, which it might have) I’m pretty sure the Jays feel that Victor Wang can suck their balls.

  10. I agree about Richmond, and in fact hope that he’ll be the siutatuonal rightie and Dotel will be part of a closer-by-committee which uses Purcey sometimes, Frasor sometimes, maybe even Camp sometimes.

    I don’t hate the move as much as you seem to, but I am wondering why we’ve replaced a guy with 37 saves who has trouble with walks and mediocre velocity for a closer with another dude who has trouble with walks and mediocre velocity for a closer. Unless you like Dotel for two years at $6.5 mil better than Gregg at two years and somewhere around $9 mil. My guess is he’ll be another one-year-and-out guy like KG and the job is Stewart’s to take whenever he’s ready.

    And as someone above mentioned, there will be at least one team with a relief problem at the deadline. This might just turn into another AA Buy-a-Prospect deal. I think I’m talking myself into liking the move …

  11. Off the top of my head – Putz got the Mariners Franklin Gutierrez, Sherrill got the Orioles Josh Bell, and Capps got the Nationals Wilson Ramos. There’s a trade market for relief pitching. Need I go further to prove it?

    The rankings attest to the value of James McDonald and Andrew Lambo, who you tried to discard as garbage. Both were valuable commodities.

    I know what Dotel’s splits are, and I laugh when you say it’s silly to sign him to be your closer when that hasn’t even been announced yet. Right now all I see is the Blue Jays paying 2.75m for a reliever with a dominant K rate who has been exceedingly effective vs righties the last 3 years. When they make the mistake of giving him the full-time closer job you can whine about that just like most complained about Kevin Gregg, but that doesn’t mean the signing is a mistake.

    Having Scott Richmond around doesn’t stop you from acquiring more talent. The two complement each other, and Richmond is more likely headed to the long man 7th RP role anyway.

  12. 1. Putz was part of a package that got a package in return. And he had accumulated an 8.2 WAR in the three years before he was traded. Dotel’s 2.2 WAR over the last three years hardly compares.

    2. Sherrill, who also had a higher WAR before being traded was dealt once again to the LA Dodgers.

    3. Capps is actually probably comparable, but again, did anyone see that as being a good deal.

    These are exceptions that are far from the norm. Why didn’t Toronto move Kevin Gregg last year? Do you think Dotel will be as successful as him as a Blue Jay?

    Dotel’s dominating K rate looks a whole lot less dominant when you compare it to walks instead of innings. And ESPN reported that Dotel specifically signed with the Jays because they would give him the opportunity to close.

  13. There is no real downside to spending $3.5M on Dotel and plenty of upside if things go well (as they did with Gregg in 2010). I fail to see the issue.

    • I’d much rather see that $3.5 million go toward a signing bonus for a Central American prospect rather than to an extraneous reliever who can’t get left handed hitters out.

  14. By that logic I’d rather they dump somebody like Camp for someone making the MLB minimum and give that extra 1m to an international FA or to a 5th rounder looking for top10 $. There’s no proof that giving Dotel 2.75m limits AA’s ability to work the amateur market.

    • Shawn Camp made just over a million dollars, and is already on the team when they went out and added Dotel for a guaranteed $3.5 million. It’s a completely different scenario that you’re trying to twist to suit your argument.

  15. Can you explain why you’d prefer Qualls to Dotel?

    I understand you’re looking at peripherals but that 7+ Era looks pretty nasty.

    • From: http://blogs.thescore.com/mlb/2010/12/22/reliever-roulette-dont-bet-on-dotel/

      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.

  16. Ari

    Dump Camp? With Downs gone, that’s the guy I trust in that bullpen. Word is Jays may also be interested in Fuentes. Of course with our GM who freaking knows.

    We didn’t move Gregg because no one offered anything better than the picks we’ll get if he signs elsewhere. And the guy wasn’t exactly useless, and the team had a positive season to spin.

    The three-year deal with options they signed with Gregg is likely as fundamentally fictional as the year plus option to sign Dotel. Maybe Farrell sees something there that no one else does, and it costs $750 grand to find out. We do sort of need a lefty more than a righty, however.

    I can’t see them thinking Dotel is the closer, whatever his agent says. If it was me, I’d hire Frasor a psychologist and run him out there until he proved he couldn’t do it at least as well (badly) as Gregg.

    To me Downs is the loss, not Gregg.

    • Paying Gregg or Dotel that much for a comp pick is a waste of money unless there’s a need for that player on the roster. My argument is that there is no need for Dotel on this roster, especially not as a closer. Look at how the Red Sox scooped up Felipe Lopez or the Jays picking up Miguel Olivo. Look at the valuations of the average comp pick. It’s not worth $3.5 millions.

  17. “It’s the equivalent of buying a $350 lottery ticket whose top prize is a chance at a $75 lottery ticket.”

    New Richard Griffin everyone. Can’t wait until Griff pokes holes in your platitudes pal.

  18. With Dotel signing with the Jays, the Rockies get their comp pick, anyway that closes up the Olivo deal?

    I don’t mind the signing, its a pretty low risk move, I’m sure we’ll be able to find room on the roster.

    I think you may be underating James McDonald too, I’m not big on WAR and what not but when the guy got an oppurtunity in Pittsburgh he put up a 1.9 WAR in 64 IP, compare that to Brandon Morrow who put up a 1.6 in 146 IP, both at 25 years old. You gotta give him some credit, is he bluechip? no but there is something there.

    • Good points Brett. I was probably too hasty in my dismissal of McDonald. Interesting thing: McDonald pitched far better on the road than at home last season (1.49 WHIP vs. 1.25 WHIP), but his record says the opposite. At home: 4-2. Away: 0-4.

  19. dear,
    hotapay

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