The Pirates are nearing a deal with free agent reliever Octavio Dotel, a source confirmed with MLB.com on Thursday. Though the two sides are close, no agreement is in place yet. Dotel would also still need to undergo a physical before anything would become official.
Dotel, 36, is coming off a season in which he made $6 million in the second year of a two-year deal with the White Sox. He made 62 appearances in 2009 and finished with a 3.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings.
Though Pittsburgh is expected to have offered Dotel a Major League deal, it is unlikely that the salary will approach what Dotel earned last year given general manager Neal Huntington’s hesitancy to pay relievers big dollars.
With Matt Capps now gone, the right-handed Dotel could very well compete to be the Pirates’ closer in 2010. Being given the opportunity to return to a ninth-inning role for the first time since 2007 could be quite appealing for Dotel. The Pirates’ internal options of Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek would also likely get some consideration for the closer’s spot.
Dotel, an 11-season veteran, has a career 3.73 ERA in 562 big league appearances. He made a career-high 77 appearances in 2004 and also finished that year with a career-best 36 saves.
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