Reds To Sign Dontrelle Willis

The Reds have agreed to sign Dontrelle Willis to a minor league deal, according to's Jerry Crasnick. Still just 28, Willis has gone from rookie phenom to ace to trade chip to bust to reclamation project in his eight-year MLB career. The Reds are presumably willing to overlook the control problems Willis has had in recent years because of the promise he showed when he first appeared in the majors in the early 2000s.

The lefty pitched to a 5.62 ERA in 65 2/3 innings with the Tigers and Diamondbacks last year, walking more batters (56) than he struck out (47). In fact, Willis has walked more batters than he has struck out every season since the Marlins traded him to Detroit in December of 2007.

The Tigers designated Willis for assignment last year before trading him to Arizona. After a brief stint with the D'Backs, Willis signed with the Giants, but did not appear in a big league game for San Francisco.

99 Responses to Reds To Sign Dontrelle Willis Leave a Reply

  1. gigantes2425 5 years ago

    Sad to see how this guys career turned out.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      indeed…But it’s good to see him sign with a team…And glad it’s the Reds…I guess the Reds just felt they needed to ride the D-Train…I don’t blame em.

  2. bosoque 5 years ago

    As a pitcher?

    • ludafish 5 years ago

      thats a good question. As funky as his body is he was always very athletic and a good hitter. you never know. as anyone ever tried to be a lefty pinch hitter and lefty specialist? i guess you need to throw strikes before you can do that

    • bayday5 5 years ago

      he could be a decent .250 hitter

  3. Kaiser_Wilhelm_II 5 years ago

    AWESOME !!!!

    I can’t wait to watch Pujols pound him in Great American Ballpark.

    • Joel Clark 5 years ago

      Pujols who? Votto and company are gonna rock the Cards next year!

      • HipNip2009 5 years ago

        Except for one series, they rocked them THIS year.

      • IIMadzII 5 years ago

        Votto’s got a long road ahead of him before he can even come close to eclipsing Pujols’ status.

  4. GriffeyandSizemore 5 years ago

    I loved this guy I’m glad to see he’s getting another chance.

    • dc21892 5 years ago

      Same here. If he can regain half of his form he can be a quality 3-5 pitcher.

  5. MiamiFan 5 years ago

    Its really sad to see his career turn to nothing. Really hope he can find his stride.

  6. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    did this guy ever roid?

    • not that i know of. he gained weight after the roid era. some say that is why his delivery is messed up. he needs to get skinny again for that leg kick to work.

  7. It amazes me how some of these guys continually get jobs.

    • does not hurt to to him to minor league deal. Maybe someone on the Reds knows what his problem is. Minor league deal always worth taking a shot at finding his old form.

    • Red_Line_9 5 years ago

      The joys of being left handed.

      • HipNip2009 5 years ago

        That’s seemingly the ONLY reason. Good point.

        • Red_Line_9 5 years ago

          It’s really just newsless news. Who knows? Willis probably has the connections to call up many teams and ask for a chance. Someone will have to make those starts in AAA….plus he’d be a decent gate draw. Not much lost, and he might contribute to the organization.

    • IIMadzII 5 years ago

      To an extent, yeah. But he was successful when he was younger. Cy Young candidate and former ROtY. I know this happens to players.. they don’t pan out, but he once was able to pitch pretty dominantly. Kind of mysterious how he went from Cy Young runner up to a .500 pitcher, to a plus 5 ERA in 3 seasons. He always seemed like a good guy so I don’t mind someone like him getting a few more chances.

  8. DetroitTigers24 5 years ago

    Noooooo!!!! Oh God why?!!!

  9. RiverKKiller999 5 years ago

    Cards should have signed him and let Duncan work with him and see what happens.

    • For sure! Although Duncan works more with game preparation than mechanics which looks to be what’s wrong with Willis looking at his control issues. He is the miracle worker though so I guess you never know what could’ve been.

      • Kaiser_Wilhelm_II 5 years ago

        I’d rather see Duncan work with Webb, Rich Hill, Washburn, or mabye like 200 others before Willis.

        • Hahahaha! Very true. I really hope they try and sign a guy like Zach Duke. Maybe that’ll light a fire under Lohse and create some more competition for the 5th starter spot.

          • Kaiser_Wilhelm_II 5 years ago

            I agree…….

            Loshe needs to be motivated with competition for his rotation slot….. (screw his contract.)

            Zach Duke would be a good one who could be had. I wouldn’t mind shooting a bit higher for someone like Javier Vazquez.

        • Stl_Great 5 years ago

          We had Rich Hill…

  10. safari_punch 5 years ago

    2011 Stats (projection)

    W – 16
    L – 4
    ERA: 3.68
    BB: 79
    WHIP: 1.2899

    • Kaiser_Wilhelm_II 5 years ago

      ^ I doubt it.

      Mabye switch the 16 and the 4 and that is more like it.

      • safari_punch 5 years ago

        You’re probably right.

        I would still take him on the cheap over Aaron Harang.

    • InLeylandWeTrust 5 years ago

      Also swap the strikeouts and walks

      • safari_punch 5 years ago

        You’re probably right there too.

        And the WHIP?

    • Projection?? or prediction?

    • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

      Flip the wins and the losses as well and double the era

    • bosoque 5 years ago

      Maybe in his R.B.I. league

    • That would be a dream come true if that happen but its really unlikely. The deal was made just to see if they could figure out what the problem is with him the past few years. Maybe they make him into a middle reliever if he is solid this year and then can prove he has something toss him into the back of the rotation after Cordero is gone.

    • Bernaldo 5 years ago

      That is NOT a projection! An honest projection requires using accurate data and reliable information to estimate an outcome based on measurable factors. Your “2011 Stats” is merely a wild guess.

  11. InLeylandWeTrust 5 years ago

    This is bringing back bad memories…Thank the good lord we got Cabrera with him though.

  12. What makes everyone think that because they signed him he is going to automatically get thrown into the rotation? For all we know he could be a signing to see if he could be a lefty specialist or start the season in the minors working on his delivery. No way he beats out Bailey/Wood etc unless he dominates spring training.

    • dc21892 5 years ago

      You make a good point.

    • That’s probably what they’re hoping for. This is obviously a low risk / high reward signing. If by some miracle he returns to his old form in spring training I’m sure they won’t have a problem handing him the ball every 5th day. If not, then who cares!? lol

    • As a minor league signing, I happen to love it for the Reds. He becomes a project that could pan out in a big way… or basically cost them nothing if he doesn’t.

    • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

      His lefty/righty splits are sick.

  13. he’ll ruin roldy, no doubt.

  14. TartanElk 5 years ago

    He went back to Arizona last year because he said he enjoyed hitting. So, why not just make him the next Ankiel. Teach him how to play 1B/LF/3B (One of them, not all three) and hope something clicks.

    • bustersposey 5 years ago

      i’d love to see him be the first left handed throwing 3b failed pitching reclamtion project in history…

      • TartanElk 5 years ago

        I never understood the whole handedness problem. I can’t throw with my right hand to save my life. So being a snotty child, I insisted I be able to throw left-handed and it worked out well playing 3B for me.

        • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 5 years ago

          You lay a bunt down the third base line, a lefty can never throw out the runner.

          • TartanElk 5 years ago

            Never, as in 0% chance of that happening in any of the next million years?

          • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 5 years ago

            Sorry. Not 0% but there is almost no chance they’re going to throw out the runner. I don’t think any team will ever put a lefty at third when their is a righty available to play

          • martyman24 5 years ago

            Yeah, lefties just do a fancy spin and throw and it would be a web gem every time a left handed 3rd basemen threw threw out a runner that bunted.

            But whats the deal with no left handed catchers? I mean i played catcher all my high school years and im a lefty, and i never really found anything that was more difficult for me than it would be for a righty…you get me?

          • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 5 years ago

            Haha. That play would be quite spectacular if it could be made consistently. Left-handed catchers is because of the throw to third base I believe.

          • That, and most hitters are right-handed. They’d get in the way of a left-handed catcher throwing out baserunners.

          • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 5 years ago

            Good point. Never actually thought of that one.

          • That’s one reason the old-school mentality of line-up construction has you batting a lefty in the two hole. One is so that he can pull the ball through the right side of the infield, the other is that he’ll get in the way of the catcher trying to throw out your speedy leadoff man as he’s trying to steal a base.

          • martyman24 5 years ago

            Yeah okay, i agree with you on that, but o boy was it fun to snap a throw to first base and i found that to be relatively easy as a lefty. Picked a lot of ppl off, so no real need in throwing down to second when there out at first lol jk but good point thanks.

  15. O971 5 years ago

    I used to love watching this guy pitch. He always looked like he was having so much fun playing the game and it would be great to see him get some of that back.

    Edit:Just realized how much that looks a Mark Prior post.

    • dc21892 5 years ago

      You’re telling me. I invested in this kids rookie card and an autographed baseball and everything. Same with Sidney Ponson. It’s irrelevant now :P.

      • The_Silver_Stacker 5 years ago

        Sidney Ponson, now thats a name that makes my face grimeace

    • dontrelle was my favorite pitcher to watch play. he sold me on coming to games, and being a part of what was going on. i only hope they can straighten this kid out. he was too good to be this bad now.

  16. The Reds would not do that, they would be more likely to attempt to do that to Owings, and Willis is not even close to a big league polished hitter.

  17. bayday5 5 years ago

    been on 4 teams and still sux, wow tough luck. imagine him with the pirates old pitching coach-that is about as bad as a elementary school pitcher in Little League

  18. If the Reds were smart they would put a call into Mel Queen. Hire him to be a special consultant and have him work with Dontrelle. Queen made Roy Halladay the best in baseball, I’m sure he could help bring Dontrelle back to where he was.

  19. Cory J. Settoon 5 years ago

    Maybe he should just pull a Rick Ankiel.

  20. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    well he’s already got a messed up delivery, might as well let Dusty blow up whats left of him.

    • ha, beat me to it; I was gonna say that Dusty is going to put him out of his misery…

    • safari_punch 5 years ago

      Or maybe Chappy McChapperson will show him how to find the strike zone.

  21. With Micah Owings and Bronson Arroyo, the Reds could have this Designated Hitter rule beat.

    • Natinals 5 years ago

      Travis Wood and Mike Leake looked like they could hit too

  22. Pawsdeep 5 years ago

    I really hope Willis does well. It’s too bad he couldn’t do it in Detroit because of everything he did for the community and how well the city responded to him, even in his worst of times but I don’t care where he’s at, I still hope for the best for him.

  23. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    Funny. I worte in a Yanks post that he would be an interesting guy to sign as a lefty specialist on a minor lge deal. His numbers against lefties have historicaly bee sick.

    Career: Lefties vs Righties

    FIP: 2.54 vs 4.60
    Whip: 1.07 vs 1.51
    KK/BB: 3.42vs 1.52
    K/9: 10.50 vs 5.72
    BB/9: 3.07 vs 3.96
    HR/9: 0.43 vs 0.94

    2010- 2.13 FIP, 1.14 whip, 12.86 K/9 ……

    I would LOVE to see what he could do in a lefty only capacity!!!

    • Gumby65 5 years ago

      Frank Tanana’s also been HISTRICALLy great against left hand hitters… sign him too?

      j/k, hope D-train makes a decent comeback, hoped same thing last year too

      • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

        Except D-train did in 2010 as well so…yeah. But if AARP had a senior lge I’d snatch him up in a second.

  24. The Cards have Kyle Lohse making over $11 mill for the next two years. I wouldn’t talk too much smack, Redbird-fans. At least the D-train comes cheap.

  25. besides dont you guys already have a solid left hander in chapman what do you need a guy like willis for

    • its a cheap gamble… You can never have enough pitching is the line. Willis might have something left that can be fixed to make him a decent reliever. Even though the Reds are deep looking in starters it only takes 2 or 3 starters down and that depth is gone. Its worth a shot to see what he can do.

  26. Stl_Great 5 years ago

    I can’t wait to see the D-TRAIN arrive at Busch Stadium!!!

  27. Damn, may as well sign Mike Hampton. Owings, Arroyo, Willis, and Hampton…..would make for a good pitchers-only Home Run Derby before games.

    • Until Mike Hampton tore his hammy walking into the batter’s box.

    • robdicken 5 years ago

      Say what you want about Arroyo, but the guy has won 16 games 3 years in a row with over 200 innings pitched, and led the league this year in innings pitched. He may give up homeruns, but so did Robin Roberts, and we all know how his career ended up.

      • nathanalext 5 years ago

        Hey mate, relax. He was complimenting his hitting ability.

  28. Red_Line_9 5 years ago

    Someone hasto make those AAA starts and be a gate attraction.

  29. Wonder how much Aroldis Chapman has to do with this. They kinda have similar deliveries, left-handed, high leg kick. Maybe they feel if they can work out Chapman’s kinks they can work out Dontrelle’s as well.

  30. sorry to be that guy but: Dontrelle’s WILLIS strong to come back and be a solid pitcher again.

  31. In this stage of dontrelle’s career i think he’d be better off as a reliever, and hopefully he can regain his form, sort of like what Kerry Wood did with the Yankees this year. This kid has all the talent in the world and it’s a shame to see it go to waste. I hope all the best for him with the Reds, same goes for Cameron Maybin(another player with much talent but nothing to show for it so far).

  32. 1104 5 years ago

    Dontrelle Willis = Kenny Powers

  33. another low risk, high reward situation.

  34. Yankees579 5 years ago

    I hope he pitches well..

  35. danthebaseballman 5 years ago

    Oh boy.

  36. Kaiser_Wilhelm_II 5 years ago

    LOL ^ So true.

  37. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    Yeah the 3 BB/9 isn’t ideal but all the rest is so great that it would at least be worth a try especially on a minor lge deal. If he’s brought in to pitch to 1 or 2 leftys then who knows, maybe he can focus better. His 10.5 K/9 is over his career so it isn’t flukish.

Leave a Reply