Free Agent Stock Watch: Octavio Dotel

On April 26th, Pirates GM Neal Huntington told MLBTR he felt that Octavio Dotel could provide a similar performance for similar dollars and contractual control as Matt Capps.  That was the reasoning behind non-tendering Capps and signing Dotel to a one-year, $3.5MM deal with a club option for 2011.

On May 1st, Huntington's statement appeared silly.  Dotel had a 10.61 ERA and three saves, while Capps boasted a 0.68 ERA and ten saves.  However, the relievers' fortunes have reversed, as Dotel has a 1.93 ERA since May 1st and Capps is at 6.43.  It's too early to make a final judgment on Huntington's decision, but Dotel is the same pitcher he's been for years.  He'll rack up tons of strikeouts, too many walks, and too many home runs.

Dotel's club option is for $4.5MM with a $500K buyout.  A $4MM net price isn't a bargain for another year of his services, but it's something the Pirates or perhaps another team will have to consider.  But here's the catch, and it makes Dotel's contractual control different from that of Capps.  Dotel's club option becomes a mutual option if traded.  If Dotel continues pitching well, he could be dealt and decline his side of the option.  He might do so in pursuit of a contract similar to the one he had with the White Sox – two years and $11MM.  Another possibility: Dotel could be traded to a team that has the closer spot locked up, and then decline the option in pursuit of save chances in 2011.

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