Tigers Acquire Octavio Dotel and Collin Balester

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Courtesy of Tigers.com :)

DETROIT — Hours after the Tigers’ signing of Octavio Dotel left Ryan Perry as a man without a role, he became a former Tiger. The team sent the former first-round pick to the Nationals on Friday night in exchange for Collin Balester in a swap of talented but inconsistent relievers in need of a change of scenery.

“Acquiring Collin Balester from the Nationals today adds another good arm to our organization,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. “He has shown the ability to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen in the past, a role we are looking for him to fill for our club in 2012.”

The 25-year-old Balester has a big frame at 6-foot-5, and a power arm for a longer reliever. What he didn’t have in Washington was a steady role. He went 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA for the Nationals this past season, striking out 34 batters over 35 2/3 innings. He went 2-1 with a 4.35 ERA at Triple-A Syracuse, with 46 strikeouts over 39 1/3 innings.

Collin Ballester

Balester was out of Minor League options, so he would’ve had to make Washington’s bullpen out of camp or go onto waivers. He stands a better chance of making the roster in Detroit, where the Tigers have gone through a few different arms for that role over the last few years.

Perry was one of them, but he best fit as a setup type of arm. Eventually, however, the Tigers ran out of time to wait for him to settle into the job.

Perry was the centerpiece of a reliever-heavy Tigers Draft in 2008, a hard-throwing right-hander who was the setup man of the future, if not a potential closer. But after he made the team out of camp the next spring, he never really found the consistency to hold down a role.

Perry pitched in 149 games for the Tigers over the last three seasons, but never quite showed the benefits of the experience. He went 2-0 with a 5.35 ERA for Detroit this past season, allowing 39 hits over 37 innings with 21 walks and 24 strikeouts. His career stats in three seasons as a Tiger include a 5-6 record, 4.07 ERA, 82 walks and 129 strikeouts over 161 1/3 innings.

The 24-year-old Perry pitched in 20 games over the summer for Triple-A Toledo, racking up seven saes while allowing 24 hits over 32 2/3 innings with nine walks and 30 strikeouts.

Dotel’s signing took away any chance Perry had for the seventh-inning role. He has held down the long-relief role before, but if the Tigers were going to sign a swing starter anyway, Perry was a man without a job.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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