One year, plus a club option, which is cool. The financial terms haven't been released, but the Post-Gazette has repeatedly hinted that Dotel will cost around $3 million, which is a good deal. Not that it means much, but he could be the Pirates' best reliever by a large margin. I won't belabor this, because these developments have been imminent for a long time and because I already discussed them in detail here, but I like this move a lot.
Compared to how it looked a few weeks ago, the Pirates' bullpen looks almost stable now, doesn't it? Dotel, Brendan Donnelly and D.J. Carrasco solidify the relief corps considerably, to the point that yesterday's unceremonious dumping of, seemingly, one of last year's more reliable relievers (Steven Jackson) didn't even really start a firestorm with a fanbase that loves firestorms.
Now that the remaking of the bullpen is probably now complete, or nearly complete, I'm a little less annoyed and perplexed with what happened to Matt Capps. That Dotel's deal contains an option puts things into perspective, since the Pirates only controlled Capps through 2011 anyway. So, in a way, the Pirates are exchanging one year plus an option for Capps for the same for Dotel. Dotel is older, but projects to be about as good in 2010 as Capps was, may actually be a less volatile commodity (due to Capps' awful 2009 season and poor physique), and will probably be cheaper both years (depending on the details of the contract, of course).
This doesn't fully justify the Pirates' decision with Capps, obviously. They could have kept Capps and signed Dotel, and with the Bucs' payroll among the lowest in the majors, there was no reason they could not have afforded both. (They probably would have had to promise Dotel a clean shot at the closer's job to get him to sign, but given the way Capps played last year, that should have been a promise they would have felt comfortable making.) But it does make Capps' dismissal easier to take. Frankly, for 2010, I'd rather have Dotel.
UPDATE: In the comments, Adam Reynolds adds that one thing that's nice about the option is that the market for relief pitching might not be quite so favorable next year, so it'll be good for the Pirates to be able to keep Dotel around for what could turn out to be a bargain. The Pirates picked a really good year to need a ton of relief pitching. For around $6 million between them, Dotel, Donnelly and Carrasco are a great value.