Octavio Eduardo Dotel Diaz
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 175 lb.
Pitcher Octavio Dotel was signed by the New York Mets in 1993 and pitched two years in the Dominican Summer League before beginning his pro career in the United States in 1995. That season, he was 7-4 with a 2.18 ERA in 13 games with the GCL Mets before being promoted to the St. Lucie Mets, with whom he went 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA in three outings out of the pen. The next year, 1996, he was 11-3 with a 3.59 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 22 games for the Capital City Bombers. He split the 1997 season between three minor league clubs, going 8-6 with a 4.07 ERA in 24 appearances between the three stops despite missing nearly a month with a shoulder injury.
Dotel spent time with the AA Binghamton Mets and AAA Norfolk Tides in 1998, posting a combined 12-8 record with a 2.84 ERA and 200 strikeouts. He earned a September call-up to the majors but did not get into a game. He began 1999 back with Norfolk but was promoted to the Mets in mid-season and spent much of the summer in their rotation, going 8-3 with a 5.38 ERA in 19 games. He played with the Mets in the postseason and was the winning pitcher in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves. Following the season, he was traded along with Roger Cedeno to the Houston Astros for Derek Bell and Mike Hampton.
Dotel began 2000 as a member of the Astros starting rotation and went 1-5 with a 5.84 ERA in 15 starts. He was moved to the pen in mid-season and became the club's closer when Billy Wagner went down with an injury. Overall, he was 3-7 with a 5.40 ERA and 16 saves and became only the second man in major league history to have as many as 15 starts and 15 saves in a season. With Wagner back in 2001, Dotel once again began the year in the rotation but soon was moved back to the pen. Overall, he went 7-5 with a 2.66 ERA, 145 strikeouts, and a pair of saves. Over the next two seasons, he played a key role in the Houston bullpen, going 6-4 with a 1.84 ERA and 6 saves in 83 outings in 2002 and 6-4 with a 2.48 ERA and 4 saves in 76 appearances in 2003.
Following the trade of Wagner, Dotel started the 2004 season as the Astros' closer. He went 0-4 with a 3.12 ERA and 14 saves in that role before being traded to the Oakland Athletics in June. He became the A's closer and was 6-2 with a 4.09 ERA and 22 saves in 45 games after the trade. He saved 7 games in 15 appearances in 2005 but suffered an elbow injury in the middle of May and ended up missing the remainder of the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in June. After the season, he became a free agent and signed with the New York Yankees. He appeared in 13 minor league rehab games before joining the Yankees in August of 2006 and making 14 appearances.
Dotel began the 2007 season on the Kansas City Royals disabled list. He came back in May and was soon the club's closer, notching 11 saves in 24 games. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Kyle Davies at the trade deadline and made 9 appearances for Atlanta despite missing more than a month with a shoulder injury. He became a free agent after the season and signed a two-year contract with the Chicago White Sox in January 2008.
In 2011, Dotel began the season with the Toronto Blue Jays then was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals at the trading deadline, joining the team in time to help it with its push to an unlikely World Series title. After the season, he signed with the Detroit Tigers, and when he made his first appearance for the Bengals on April 7, 2012, he became the first player to pitch for 13 different teams in the major leagues (he had tied Mike Morgan when he joined the Cardinals a few months earlier). Matt Stairs was the only other player to play for 13 different teams, although in his case he played for both the Montreal Expos and Washington Nationals - two decades apart -, which were the same franchise. In 2018, Edwin Jackson became the second man to pitch for 13 different teams, and then added a 14th the following season, stripping Octavio of the record that was his main claim to fame.