The Pirates and free-agent reliever Octavio Dotel agreed to terms on a one-year contract plus a club option for 2011, a source directly involved in the talks told the Post-Gazette tonight.
The agreement is pending a physical scheduled for tomorrow in Pittsburgh and, if Dotel clears, he could sign by the afternoon.
Financial terms were not immediately available, but Dotel made $6 million with the Chicago White Sox last year, and his new salary is expected to be about half that.
Still, it should qualify as the Pirates' most expensive free-agent signing this winter, easily topping outfielder Ryan Church's guaranteed $1.5 million. Their most expensive acquisition was the trade for second baseman Akinori Iwamura, who will make $4.85 million.
Dotel, 36, almost surely would become the Pirates' closer, ahead of internal candidates Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek. A vacancy was left at closer with Matt Capps' release in December. That was one reason, according to the source, Dotel chose the Pirates over other teams that made offers.
He has not closed since early 2007, but he was a reliable arm for the White Sox the past two seasons, posting ERAs of 3.76 and 3.32 over 132 appearances. He also maintained quality a strikeout rate in that span -- 10.83 per nine innings -- that indicates he has fended off decline. His career numbers: 3.73 ERA and 83 saves in 122 opportunities.
Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .