Eric Adelson of Yahoo! was in Lakeland and he spoke to Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel. Who is still stinging, apparently, that his efforts to get Miguel Cabrera to be go all rah-rah team leadery during the playoffs last season were unsuccessful:
“You have to step up and say something. Miggy’s more about his game. I don’t see him as a leader … Everybody has their eyes on Miggy Cabrera.”
This echoes what Dotel said last fall. And while, sure, you’d like to see your best player be your team leader, Cabrera has never been that guy. He’s reported by everyone to be a quiet, sometimes even introverted type. He is not a likely candidate to lead a team motivational meeting. Especially on a team with a manager like Jim Leyland, guys like Prince Fielder and, as of this year, Torii Hunter.
You’d think that Dotel would know that by now. And that there is zero upside and a lot of downside to saying stuff like this to the press. But then again, Dotel has been on 13 teams in 14 seasons as a big leaguer. I’m guessing that fact and these kinds of comments are somewhat related.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.