It's Friday the 13th for relief pitcher Octavio Dotel, but not in an ominous way. Dotel and the Detroit Tigers agreed to a one-year contract for the 2012 season plus a club option for another year. As soon as Dotel makes an appearance with the Tigers, he will set a record for most major-league teams, with 13.
Matt Stairs, Ron Villone and Mike Morgan all played for 12 teams but are out of baseball. In his 13th major-league season in 2011, Dotel won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, his 12th team. As reported by MLB.com's Jason Beck on Twitter, the record is all Dotel's now, presumably:
Dotel: "I'm very happy I've got the record." #Tigers
What's strange about Dotel's career: Except for his rookie season with the Mets and a few small sample sizes elsewhere, he's been good — sometimes very good — at every stop. He has a 3.74 ERA and 1,077 strikeouts in 888 1/3 innings, the bulk of which was spent with the Astros in the early 2000s. He also has 108 career saves, so he has been trusted with the ninth inning.
Major League Baseball has 30 teams, so at 38 years old, Dotel doesn't have much of a chance to pitch for all of them. But now he can be known for something other than his old-school, rolled-up pant legs that show off a lot of sock. And for hugging the president of the United States during a trip to the White House with the White Sox.
And if the Tigers fall out of the race in the next two seasons, Dotel still has a shot at team No. 14. And if he somehow makes it to 15 teams? He can actually say, "I pitched in half the league."
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