Octavio Dotel has met with the Tigers and Brewers

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Octavio Dotel’s next contract figures to make some wonder why the Cardinals didn’t just exercise their $3.5 million option.

According to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, the Brewers, Cardinals, Mets, Reds and Tigers have all inquired about the free agent reliever. Dotel’s reps have already met with the Brewers and Tigers.

Dotel, 37, had a 3.50 ERA in 54 innings for the Blue Jays and Cardinals last season. He turned into one of Tony La Russa’s favorite relievers in the postseason, appearing in 12 games and amassing a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings.

The Brewers have a need for a right-handed setup man with Francisco Rodriguez, Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins all filing for free agency the winter. The Tigers are also looking for help after their younger relievers struggled mightily in the postseason, leaving Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit and lefty Phil Coke as the team’s only reliable options. The Mets and Reds might be more interesting destinations for Dotel, though, as they could offer him the chance to add to his total of 108 career saves.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.