You never want to be a candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year Award — it means bad stuff happened, right? — but if you do find yourself needing to bounce back it sure must feel like some good validation to win it. This year’s two winners were just announced: Matt Harvey in the NL, Prince Fielder in the AL.
Harvey missed the entire 2014 season following Tommy John surgery. And, while there were controversies regarding his usage by the Mets, he had a great comeback season. He posted a 2.71 ERA in 29 regular-season starts and struck out 188 batters in 189.1 regular season innings. He likewise pitched four times in the playoffs, including an excellent, though ultimately losing, Game 5.
Fielder appeared in just 42 games last season before requiring season-ending surgery on his neck in 2014. He came back and put up a .305/.378/.463 line with 23 home runs and 98 RBI while playing in 158 games and helping the Rangers win the American League West.
Normally a player who missed an entire year and then put up .250/.356/.486 with 33 homers at age 40 would get strong consideration, but I suppose that when your name is Alex Rodriguez and the reason you missed a year was because of your own malfeasance, that’s gonna count against you with the voters.
Five years ago, Octavio Dotel retired following a 15-year career in which he pitched for a then-record 13 different teams. I’m not exactly sure what he’s been up to since then, but I know that today he got arrested, as did former Marlins, Twins and Mets second baseman Luis Castillo.
That’s the report from Héctor Gómez, and from the Dominican Today, each of whom report that the two ex-big leaguers were arrested today in connection with a longstanding money laundering and/or drug investigation focused on one César Peralta. also known as “César the Abuser.” So he sounds fun. Gómez characterizes it as a money laundering thing. Reporter Dionisio Soldevila characterizes it as “drug trafficking charges.” Such charges often go hand-in-hand, of course. I’m sure more details will be come out eventually. For now we have the report of their arrests. According to the Dominican Today, four cars belonging to Dotel were confiscated as well.
Dotel didn’t debut until he was 25, and for his first couple of years with the Mets and Astros he struggled to establish himself as a starter. He was switched full-time to the Houston bullpen at 27, however, and went on to make 724 relief appearances with a 3.32 ERA and a .207 opponents’ batting average while racking up 955 strikeouts in 760 innings. At the time of his retirement his career strikeout rate — 10.8 per nine innings — was the best in the history of baseball for right-handed pitchers with at least 900 innings, edging out Kerry Wood and Pedro Martinez.
Castillo also played 15 seasons, with a career line of .290/.368/.351. He was a three-time All Star and won three Gold Glove awards.