With the Chicago Cubs having signed free agent right-handed reliever Bob Howry and left-handed reliever Scott Eyre, both of whom interested the Cardinals, St. Louis might be concentrating now on free agent right-hander Octavio Dotel, who missed most of last season because of injury.
Dotel, 31, is rehabilitating his right elbow from ligament-replacement surgery in early June. Dotel, who was with Oakland, is expected to be able to throw in spring training and to be ready by Opening Day.
Dan Horwits, Dotel's agent, said Dotel's willingness to step into a setup role has expanded the number of teams interested. That list has exceeded a dozen, Horwits said.
Dotel moved to the bullpen while with Houston and grew into the closer's role there before being traded in 2004. He had 43 saves and 138 strikeouts over 100 2/3 innings in the 1 1/2 seasons before the surgery.
The Cardinals' No. 1 need still appears to be an outfielder, such as Brian Giles. But it's possible the Cardinals would go after another starter and then deal arbitration-eligible Jason Marquis for an outfielder. For sure, they will sign bullpen help.
Meanwhile, right-hander Matt Morris, a free agent who has won 101 games for the Cardinals, has received a three-year offer from a National League team that is not the Cardinals, agent Barry Axelrod said. The San Francisco Giants, who need a No. 2 starter, have shown interest in Morris, who also has been pursued by Seattle, Baltimore, Detroit and Texas.
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