Royals sign relievers Dotel, Bale
Righty to serve as closer; lefty previously pitched in Japan
KANSAS CITY -- Now the Royals seem to have both ends of their pitching staff solidified.
The Royals announced late Friday afternoon the signing of Octavio Dotel to be their closer. He agreed to a one-year contract, believed to be for $5 million.
He was the second reliever signed on Friday by the Royals. Left-hander John Bale was added earlier in the day, agreeing to a two-year deal.
"The back end of our bullpen has been a major focus," general manager Dayton Moore said. "It was a problem in '06. We feel we've made big strides in bringing it an identity."
The Royals have been in a flurry of pitching deals this week, trading with the New York Mets for starter Brian Bannister and then signing free-agent starter Gil Meche to a five-year deal.
Dotel pitched for the New York Yankees last season but, recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery, appeared in just 14 games with no record and a 10.80 ERA.
However, he has 71 saves in 99 chances during his eight-year career with a 3.75 ERA for the Mets, Houston Astros, Oakland A's and Yankees. Dotel was part of the 2004 Carlos Beltran trade, in which the Astros sent him to the A's as part of the three-team deal.
The 33-year-old right-hander had a total of 36 saves, his career high, for the Astros and A's that season. He was 22 for 28 in save situations after joining Oakland.
Bale, 32, has pitched the last three seasons for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. The left-hander has been a starter, middle reliever and closer; last season he was 1-2 with six saves and a 2.93 ERA.
In 2005, Bale had 24 saves in 51 games and, in 2004, was 11-10 in 25 starts.
Bale pitched in the Major Leagues for the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds. His career record for 27 games was 2-2 with a 4.69 ERA.
To make room for Bale on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated relief pitcher Scott Dohmann for assignment. They'll need to clear space for their other acquisitions later.
The deal with Dotel is contingent on him passing a physical examination, Moore said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.