Octavio Dotel, who missed all of this season with elbow problems, has decided to retire rather than try another comeback at age 40, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.
Dotel had a remarkable career, pitching 15 seasons for 13 different teams despite not debuting until age 25, not finding his full-time home in the bullpen until age 27, and often dealing with arm troubles.
Armed with a good fastball and sharp-breaking slider, Dotel went from struggling as a starter to making 724 relief appearances with a 3.32 ERA and .207 opponents’ batting average while racking up 955 strikeouts in 760 innings.
His career strikeout rate of 10.8 per nine innings is the best in the history of baseball for right-handed pitchers with at least 900 innings. Directly behind him on the list are Kerry Wood and Pedro Martinez.
The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.
Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.
The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.
The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.