If you were afraid that the Detroit Tigers might be done with their off-season shopping once (if?) Kenny Rogers re-signs with the team, Jon Paul Morosi threw out a scrap in yesterday's Detroit Free Press that might provide some warmth during this late November chill. Apparently, the Tigers are still holding a torch for reliever Octavio Dotel, with whom they flirted with at the trade deadline.
Dotel and the Tigers were kept apart, however, by Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore, who preferred a pitcher he was familiar with - Kyle Davies - over any prospects Dave Dombrowski was offering in a deal.
As it turns out, Dotel wouldn't have been able to help the Tigers much anyway. Shortly after joining the Braves, he was out for six weeks with a a strained shoulder. He also missed most of April and May with the Royals because of a strained oblique muscle.
When Dotel returned in late September, however, he didn't allow a run in his last four appearances. For the season, Dotel posted a 2-1 record with a 4.11 ERA and 11 saves in 33 appearances (30 2/3 innings). But perhaps most impressively - and this is probably what piques the Tigers' interest - he racked up 41 strikeouts.
In other reliever news, Mike McClary posed a question I was going to bring up here, had I not been at the movies, watching Anton Chigurh terrorize West Texas. Why aren't the Tigers looking to again get into the Troy Percival business?
He'd seem to fit into their bullpen nicely. Would Detroit prefer to sign a younger reliever, one who could fulfill a longer-term deal? (Or maybe they also want to wait out the market, given the contract that Scott Linebrink just signed with the White Sox.) Would Percival prefer not to pitch in a cold-weather city, after having given it a try before? Does he think he can still close?
In 34 appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals, Percival finished with a 3-0 record, 1.80 ERA, and 36 strikeouts in 40 innings.
UPDATE: Not that we shouldn't have assumed there would be competition for Dotel's services, but the New York Mets are most definitely interested in signing him. The pitcher's agent is quoted in this New York Post article as saying that his client "doesn't care about his role," which should satisfy any worries that Dotel might prefer to go to a place where he'd be the closer.