Mets Hot on Dotel?

Anthony Di Como is reporting that the Mets may be “in the running” for reliever Octavio Dotel.

If so, they’re at least a year too late — and probably, still a dollar too short.

The Mets needed Dotel in July 2010, when their bullpen was a disaster and postseason hopes were quickly slipping down the drain. Though, Dotel by himself likely wouldn’t have made that much of a difference in the second half of that season. But what if they had signed him as a free agent prior to the beginning of 2010 — instead of hoping and wishing for Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi to bridge the gap to closer Francisco Rodriguez?

Interestingly, Dotel had the Mets atop his list as of September 2009, when it was clear he’d be entering the free agent market. But, even 2010 was “too late” for the Mets to bring Dotel back to Flushing — the time they really, really needed him was 2008 (check out that link, there’s another interesting character suggested), when the Mets bullpen began thin and ended even thinner — remember Luis Ayala closing games as Jerry Manuel successfully led the Mets to a second straight September collapse? You know, the year the Mets were “overachievers”. But what do we know? We’re just fans with wild ideas.

Why cry over spilled milk? Shouldn’t we be happy that the Mets still have Robert Carson, who may one day become a middling middle reliever?

Here’s the thing: what if the Mets spent just a few more dollars prior to 2008, to sign Octavio Dotel instead of going on the cheap for Matt Wise and Brian Stokes? I know, we can play the “what if” game all day long — but if you look back to 2006, 2007, and 2008, when the Mets were “that close” to the brass ring, and had opportunities to acquire certain players that might have pushed them to the next level, but instead sat on their hands or went with the more economical option, you can see there was a consistent pattern that makes one wonder if the team’s leadership had a fear of success (or were just cheap). Since we have a long boring winter ahead of us, we’ll get into this in more depth soon enough, but I just wanted to set the kindling afire: part of the reason the Mets can’t spend now is because they wouldn’t spend before.

Your thoughts? Can you remember any examples that might support my case?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Joe November 30, 2011 at 12:01 pm
    The Mets’ payroll is not paltry or anything. Seems to me the issue was HOW they spent money and handled talent, not that they “feared” success or were “cheap” as a whole.
  2. Walnutz15 November 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm
    Always amuses me when the Mets “are hot”, or “in the running” for a certain random player – in the press.

    I was also reading that Dotel had the Tigers, Cards, and Reds interested in his services.

    Cards – Motte
    Tigers – Valverde

    Gotta figure he’d be setting up for solid money, in either instance…..while the Reds could look to him as an actual option to close, provided Cordero bolts. Again, a good money situation.

    So, again there’ll be competition for an arm – and I just hope that the Mets don’t choose to overpay on a guy as old as Dotel is – for really no reason whatsoever – given their standing within the NL East.

    Keep in mind that a guy like Broxton actually got $4MM – and barely pitched last year…..coupled with the Mets Payless Plan, to grab 2 back-end of the ‘pen-type arms for $10MM combined…….and you chuckle.

    Why would Dotel even be cheap?

    Factor in: Dotel’s 38 now, and the last thing I’d want is to have to give him more than a year guaranteed.

    You just hope it doesn’t come to that point.

    ……..and you hope that some kind of plan comes to light soon, starting with Reyes’ re-signing. (Have no idea where this franchise is going, and I hope it’s in a positive direction. Not just more puppets.)

  3. SiddFinch November 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm
    Minaya’s inability, after ’06, to keep a strong bullpen by trying to go on the cheap is instrumental to the collapses of ’07-’08. Dotel would’ve made perfect sense back then. Now, not so much. If signed he might have a strong season, but his age is against him as well as the fact it would be a short term solution for a team seeking long term answers. Getting beat out by the Royals for Broxton is kind of pathetic.