Pirates Continue To Add Relievers, Sign Octavio Dotel

Almost a week after the Pittsburgh Pirates signed relievers D.J. Carrasco and Brendan Donnelly, the Pirates are at it again.

According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates have signed Octavio Dotel to a one-year, $3 million contract. There is also a club option for 2011.

Dotel becomes the Pirates closer

Dotel is expected to be the Pirates’ closer in 2010.

This is a pretty good deal for both parties.

For Dotel, he gets the chance to close again. Though he hasn’t closed games on a consistent basis since 2007 with the Kansas City Royals (I completely forgot he was on the Royals), Dotel should be up to the task in Pittsburgh.

At the age of 36, Dotel showed no signs of slowing down last year with the Chicago White Sox. Dotel posted a 3.32 ERA and a 10.8 K/9 ratio in 62.1 innings.

Perhaps the only concern with Dotel is his increased walk rate. Dotel had a 5.2 BB/9 ratio last year, which was his highest since 2006.

For the Pirates, I like this move for a couple of reasons.

First, Dotel is better than anything they currently have in the bullpen, so he is a definite upgrade. There is nothing more demoralizing to a young team than having to battle for eight innings and then your closer comes in and blows the game.

Dotel will at least help stabilize the bullpen on the back end. And considering that he made $6 million with the White Sox last season, the Pirates got him at a reasonable cost.

Second, a player like Dotel can become prime trade bait for the Pirates. Contending teams are always looking for relief pitchers at the trade deadline and someone like Dotel could be a hot commodity.

If he can stay healthy and prove he still has it, then the Pirates could look to trade him for some prospects once they fall out of the race (which is inevitable).

As I wrote in my Carrasco and Donnelly post, the moves the Pirates have made this offseason won’t make them a contender in 2010, but will make them a much tougher out next year.

Their bullpen has been vastly improved this offseason and they continue to get more athletic. If everything breaks right for them, they could win 75-80 games in 2010.

Dotel will be entering his 12th season in the majors and has a career 3.73 ERA with 83 saves and a 11.0 K/9 ratio with the New York Mets, Houston Astros, Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Royals and White Sox.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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