Monday, December 27, 2010

The Jays New Closer?

I remember after the 2003 season thinking that Octavio Dotel is the best relief pitcher in baseball and it is a shame that he wasn't someone's closer.  In fact Dotel was so good, he was actually drafted in the 4th round of my 16 team 5x5 roto league, now that's a pretty good set up guy. 

For some reason Dotel was never quite the same pitcher after 2003, most likely the result of the pressure to perform after getting drafted so high in my fantasy league.  While his strike out to inning numbers continued to be impressive, the rest of his numbers varied between awful and mediocre and rarely did he ever look good as a closer.  Now it looks as if Dotel will be the Jays 2011 closer!  Before I go on and on about what a terrible closer he will be, and point out details like that he has a 7.56 career ERA against Boston and 6.46 ERA against Tampa, let's take a step back and think about why the Jays may have signed him to be their closer?

The obvious reason the Jays signed Dotel is that they didn't want to spend a lot of money on a closer and their options were limited at this time, but let's look beyond that reason.  I think the Jays signed Dotel hoping that he would show some success, continue striking out batters at a high rate, and then hopefully have value come the trade deadline.  Dotel is just one of those pitchers that despite his mediocre past every team seems to covet, I'm thinking it's because of his K to inning ratio. Just like chicks dig the long ball, GM's dig pitchers who strike out a lot of batters and we only have to look back to last year to prove this as the Pirates got both Andrew Lambo (rated #49th best prospect in baseball pre 2009) and James McDonald (arguably now the Pirates ace) for Dotel.  Let's hope AA can pull off some of this magic as well and we should not be too concerned about whether Dotel should or should not be the closer.

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