According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com the Rays, Pirates, and Blue Jays are among the teams interested in free agent reliever Octavio Dotel.
Pittsburgh being in the mix is interesting, because the Pirates signed Dotel to a one-year, $3.5 million deal as a free agent last offseason and then traded him to the Dodgers on July 31 for James McDonald and Andrew Lambo. That was a pretty great return, so perhaps general manager Neal Huntington wants to give it a try again.
Dotel is 37 years old, sometimes struggles to keep the ball in the ballpark, and has lost a bit of velocity in recent years, but he still averaged 92 miles per hour with his fastball in 2010 and racked up 75 strikeouts in just 64 innings. He’s never averaged fewer than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in a full relief season.
Toronto announced a half-dozen minor league signings today, including former top prospect Corey Patterson.
Patterson is among the biggest prospect busts of the past decade, as a complete lack of plate discipline kept the former No. 3 overall pick and two-time Baseball America top-three prospect from becoming anything resembling a star.
On the other hand, he’s played 1,097 games spread over 11 seasons and the Blue Jays will be his sixth team. And despite seemingly being around forever, he’s still just 31 years old.
Patterson remains very fast and very good defensively, but he just can’t hit. He has a career line of .253/.292/.404 thanks to some early success with the Cubs, but Patterson has hit just .245/.283/.382 since 2005 and he’s never managed an on-base percentage above .320.
If limited to part-time duties he’s a somewhat useful spare part and the Blue Jays will likely have Patterson compete for a backup gig in spring training, although Rajai Davis has a similar yet superior skill set.
Toronto placed Edwin Encarnacion on waivers in mid-November and he was claimed by Oakland only to non-tendered three weeks later. And now he’s back with the Blue Jays, agreeing to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with a 2012 team option worth $3.5 million.
It was an odd little journey for Encarnacion, but basically the moves boiled down to the Blue Jays not wanting to give him a raise on his $4.75 million salary via arbitration. Instead of non-tendering him they placed him on waivers and the A’s essentially let him sit on the 40-man roster for a few weeks while they decided what to do at third base, eventually agreeing that he wasn’t worth $5 million.
Ultimately it looks like a smart series of events for the Blue Jays, as they retain Encarnacion for about half of what he would’ve made through the arbitration process and also get a reasonable 2012 option out of the deal.
Encarnacion has proven to be a pretty awful defensive third baseman, but Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that the Blue Jays will likely use him mostly as a first baseman and designated hitter. His offense has also been inconsistent, but Encarnacion has averaged 25 homers per 550 at-bats for his career and should be good for an OPS around .800 if healthy. As usual, Jack Black is very excited about the re-signing:
Non-tendered by the Blue Jays because they didn’t want to give him a raise on his 2010 salary of $1.08 million, Jeremy Accardo has signed a one-year deal with the Orioles worth … $1.08 million.
Accardo had a breakout season for the Blue Jays in 2007, saving 30 games with a 2.14 ERA in 67 innings, but he’s thrown a grand total of just 44 innings in the three seasons since then thanks to arm problems and ineffectiveness.
He spent most of this year at Triple-A, where his nice-looking 3.48 ERA and 24 saves masked an underwhelming 26/15 K/BB ratio and .306 opponents’ batting average in 44 innings.
At his peak Accardo averaged 94-95 miles per hour with his fastball, but his average velocity was down to 92.8 mph in a handful of appearances with the Blue Jays this year.
Last week Baltimore reportedly offered Kevin Gregg a two-year, $8 million deal, but apparently that wasn’t enough because according to Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com the Orioles have upped their two-year offer to $12 million and Gregg is close to accepting.
Gregg racked up 37 saves for the Blue Jays this year for his fourth straight season with at least 20 saves, but his 3.79 ERA during that time isn’t particularly impressive and he blew six save chances this year to finish with a success rate of 86 percent that’s basically right at the MLB average.
Gregg is a decent setup man who’s apparently about to be paid like something a step or two above that because he’s gotten a chance to rack up saves in the past.
According to McDonald the Nationals and Red Sox are also in the mix for Gregg, who would presumably compete for ninth-inning duties with Koji Uehara if he indeed opts to join the Orioles.