illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
Hello Octavio Dotel! Welcome to your MLB-record 13th different team!
He’s coming in on a one year, $3.5 million deal with an option for 2013. He’s a righty. He just turned 38 this November. He should be bouncing around the late inning/not-closing portion of the bullpen with Joaquin Benoit and Al Al. He’s been around for so long that he oozes veteran presence from his every pore, especially on hot days. He wears his socks up and thus will provide a new socks buddy for Papa Grande.
He is also Dominican, just like Benoit, Al Al, and Valverde. One nation, one bullpen. Don’t make things weird, Phil Coke.
So saith Jason Beck:
The 25-year-old Balester has a big frame at 6-foot-5, and a power arm for a longer reliever.
So Rod Allen should enjoy him, at least.
However, Balester was acquired in a trade with the Washington Nationals. To get him the Tigers traded away Ryan Perry. That means
Yes, Rick Porcello has been deprived of his former roommate/BFF/hetero lifemate/companion donkey. Goodbye, Ryan Perry!
In general I am a fan of these moves. It doesn’t seem like a bad idea to take Dotel on for a year and see what might be left in his ancient body. Balester doesn’t seem like a wholly hopeless gamble. And Perry has the Tigers convinced that he’s a mental midget:
“There’s too much differential between his good [slider] and his bad one for me,” [Leyland] said. “He throws one of the best sliders you’ve ever seen, and then the next one’s not a good one. It’s not good at all. It’s left in the middle and it spins. There hasn’t been much in between. It’s almost an exaggeration, and it’s a little bit the same with his [fastball].”
The 24-year-old Perry pitched in 20 games over the summer for Triple-A Toledo, racking up seven saves while allowing 24 hits over 32 2/3 innings with nine walks and 30 strikeouts. Leyland said the reports from Toledo suggested that he threw his changeup with confidence in Toledo under less pressure.
Or whatever. The point is, the team’s faith that he could slay the Inconsistency Dragon and finally access his full talent had become sadly eroded. Balester may be more of the same, but the Tigers don’t know that yet, so they can still look at him with potentialicious optimism.
The only thing I DON’T like is the FredFred angle. Without his companion donkey, I worry that he’ll get himself in a rut again– mechanical, psychological, whatever– and won’t be able to haul himself out of it because he is alone without his Ryan Perry, all alone in the world and the American League. Don’t underestimate the power of the companion donkey.
Alas, if only the companion donkey could have maintained an ERA under 5.00.