Dontrelle Willis To Retire

3:50pm: The Orioles confirmed that Willis is retiring, tweets Roch Kubatko of

2:36pm: Pitcher Dontrelle Willis is considering retirement and is not expected to make next start for the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, according to Roch Kubatko of (via Twitter).  The left-hander has been in the O’s system since signing a minor league deal in March.

Willis was placed on the restricted list by Baltimore in late April after a difference of opinions between him and the organization.  The 30-year-old left Triple-A Norfolk believing that he was going to be granted his release but instead was placed on the restricted list because GM Dan Duquette did not authorize the move.  Willis planned on filing a grievance against the Orioles but instead returned to the club’s farm system.

The southpaw wound up making just three relief appearances and one start for Triple-A Norfolk after all was said and done. Willis originally signed a one-year, $1MM deal with the Phillies in December of last year but was released in March.

Willis owns a career 4.17 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 for his career and has earned nearly $41MM over the course of his career, according to Baseball-Reference.  The pitcher known as D-Train burst on to the scene as a 21-year-old with the Marlins and captured the National League Rookie of the Year award with a brilliant campaign.  Two years later, Willis finished second in Cy Young voting to Chris Carpenter, posting 2.63 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.

47 Responses to Dontrelle Willis To Retire Leave a Reply

  1. TophersReds 3 years ago

    If so, so long and congrats on the what-could-have-been career D-Train. I enjoyed watching you play while you were here in Cincy.

  2. letsgogiants 3 years ago

    Wow, hard to believe that he is only 30. Too bad the potential didn’t follow through after a dominant 2005. At least he was able to get a ring so early in his career. If he does retire, I wish him the best of luck in life after baseball.

    • Casor_Greener 3 years ago

      Dude had 1 maybe 2 good years then stole 40M from the Tigers. No matter what happens I consider him a winner. Wish I could be so lucky.

      1 Love  D Train!

      • sourbob 3 years ago

        While I’m sure he’s glad to have the money, I seriously doubt he feels entirely good about it. Professional baseball players are inherently competitive people who want desperately to succeed. We should be careful about assuming they’re delighted to get something for nothing. More likely, they’re tortured by their failure to live up to the expectations of their contract and the money is only a partial consolation.

        Even if you want to think baseball players ARE that greedy, wouldn’t you supposed he’d have rather pitched extremely well during that contract and earned another big payday?

        • Tony DiQuattro 3 years ago

          Anybody who is a fan of a team that signed a player to a big contract and was a bust feels the same way, but you’re right.  Most of the time it has nothing to do with lack of effort.

        • Casor_Greener 3 years ago

          I made no attempt to analyze his feelings on the issue, nor did I say he was greedy.  I’m just telling you how I feel about it.

          • sourbob 3 years ago

            Fair enough. I had a sort of reflexive response to what I wrongly assumed was another “I bet he’s laughing all the way to the bank” comment. My bad.

  3. GoRav114 3 years ago

    Just don’t get what happened to the D train.  Seems like it has to be mental, he was so dominant for a short stretch then nothing.  If you can’t crack the Orioles five man rotation then it may be time to retire. 

    • pmc765 3 years ago

      He showed up in 2008 for the Tigers amid much optimism. But he looked a LOT heavier. In Florida he was fit enough to kick his foot up high and put it down in the same place every time. In Detroit, the leg went up, but the pudgy Dontrelle found it coming down in a different place every time. Always a feel pitcher, he completely lost his release point. He threw pitches to the backstop. He had no idea where it was going.

      He went on a diet and rededicated himself to fitness. Almost all players thicken somewhat as they age. But he never got the feel back.

      I think he ate himself out of baseball.

  4. Ben_Cherington 3 years ago

    Why?  If its injury, I understand, if its bc he is not on in the MLB, get off your high horse!  Almost everyone hear would do anything to play Triple-A.  I wish players wouldnt let pride get in the way and just enjoy playing the game at a very high level. 

    PS. Call Rick Ankiel, maybe you can learn to play the OF. If I remember correctly, Willis was pretty good with a bat and def has a good arm. Could be a nice project.

    • ImperialStout 3 years ago

      Yeah, but he’s not really playing at a high level, and the perks of riding buses and never being home for the majority of the year to play minor league ball would probably be a drag.

    • TophersReds 3 years ago

      He probably doesn’t enjoy pitching in the minors after having the great success he had early in his. Of course we would love to pitch in AAA, but he would love to pitch in MLB again and win another WS – which probably won’t happen even if he doesn’t retire. He already has $40M+ in his career, so money isn’t the incentive to pitch in the minors either for him. 

  5. Will_Clarks_Gauchos 3 years ago

    I thought that decision was already made for him.

  6. 55saveslives 3 years ago


  7. LifelongMets 3 years ago

    This is just a shame. I always loved this guy, and he showed that he can be excellent. Watching him struggle like he has from 2006 on has really been hard, especially considering his early career success.

    Best of luck to Dontrelle!

  8. DerekJeterDan 3 years ago

    Very good seasons with the Marlins with an exceptionally unique delivery. His trade mark will always be the flat brim cap he wore to the side with his sharp slider and mid 90’s fastball. It was always a pleasure watching him when he was pitching well from 2003 – 2007. When the Phillies signed him this offseason I hoped he might be able to get some work/stability in as a Loogy but his erratic delivery made him too wild on the mound and he bounced from team to team this year. If he were to retire today, he would finish with a 4.17 ERA a 72-69 record and 896 strikeouts. All in all, that is a nice little resume to have and say hey you know what, I played in the big leagues.
    Best of luck to the D Train.

  9. schellis 3 years ago

    Once teams figured out his delivery his stuff was hammered.  He can still get lefties out but refuses to work out of the pen because he feels he’s still a starter.   

  10. coolstorybro222 3 years ago

    I hope he saved some of that money

  11. YuppieScum 3 years ago

    I’d feel bad for him if he hadn’t made FORTY FRICKIN MILLION DOLLARS in his career.

    Frankly I’m surprised he hasn’t tried converting to the outfield.

  12. RedSx799 3 years ago

    My how the could-have-been-mighty has collapsed.

    • Cosmo3 3 years ago

      I wouldn’t call retiring at 30 w/ a WS ring and 40 mil “collapsing”

      • not_brooks 3 years ago

        You should look up the definition for “collapse”.

        3.44 ERA in his first 800 innings, 5.65 ERA in last 400. Certainly seems like a collapse to me.

        • RedSx799 3 years ago

          He was included with Cabrera as a part of that hyper mega uber super deal that got the Tigers Cabrera and Willis. The high expectations combined with the above (5.65 ERA in his last 400 innings) is a collapse.

          And you kind of said it. he retired at 30…with one ring. He bounced around from team to team the last few years pitching horrible every time.

  13. Dave Reyes 3 years ago

    That sucks, he was a pitcher with loads of potential. He could’ve become an outfielder or first baseman though. I bet he’s still got some pop in that bat of his.

  14. ima_robot_beepbeepbeep 3 years ago

    should have been released a month ago when he started complaining and making demands. good riddance.

  15. J Hayes 3 years ago

    Braves will sign him.

  16. RepOak 3 years ago

    Great guy, struck me out a couple times in high school ha! Wish him the best..

  17. sourbob 3 years ago

    He could open a bar with Mark Prior maybe.

    • drjayphd 3 years ago

      Nuh-uh, Prior’s pitching in Pawtucket and he’ll be back in the big leagues any day no–wait, what? Disabled list? For what, dislocated talent?

  18. BradyAndersonsSideburns 3 years ago

    his career has reached the caboose!

  19. Paul Shailor 3 years ago

    What I find funny is 29 mil is from the tigers, for 100 innings. Now that trade I would do again, but dang that extension was one of DDs worst. 

  20. Retnan 3 years ago

    Well thanks for robbing the Tigers Willis, why Sox fans appreciated it.

    What happened dude?

  21. i’m a braves fan, but d-train was very fun to watch. wish he could have had more success but i enjoyed the way he played the game.

  22. ugotrpk3113 3 years ago

    I remember Dontrelle was just starting to explode on the scene when I started to really follow baseball as closely as I do now. He was so fun to watch – was so quirky and to see a pitcher who can hit as well as he could never made it boring.

    Sad reminder to those who excel early in baseball – You never know when things will fall apart..

  23. I’ll miss his bat. No, seriously. Willis and Carlos Zambrano are old-school “pitchers who can flat-out hit”. There must be a place for that?

  24. Blue387 3 years ago

    The D-Train makes his last stop. Watch for the closing doors.

  25. CodyBedell 3 years ago

    Good luck, he was a very nice person and a great guy for basebal.

  26. I swear the Florida heat has something to do with his burnout. I remember watching him pitch down there and the sweat was just pouring off of him start after start, There are several pitchers from that oranization that i recall starting great then fading. olson was another young flame out.

  27. Carlos Lee 3 years ago

    He should try to come back as a position player. the guy can hit.

  28. The real problem is that he had looked done for a few years now. I wonder if he would have gotten so many chances if he was not left-handed.

  29. Real_American78 3 years ago

    Thanks for making it interesting, D-Train.

  30. The guy can’t even become a lefty specialist? What a shame. For some reason, I’ve always rooted for him. 

  31. Docbot 3 years ago

    He still has major league talent, but not as a starter.  I think the Orioles refusal to release him indicates that someone (likely the Yankees) would pick him up.  Don’t close the book on D-train yet, just let him sit out the season, and try again next year.  

  32. ElectricDreamMachine 3 years ago

    This guy actually was an amazing hitter with a lot of skills aside from his arm.  Since his career as a pitcher derailed a long time ago, they should have tried him in the field.  He’s 6’4, 225, and has 9 homeruns, 13 doubles, 6 triples in 389 at-bats for his career(with 4 years in the American League.)  His last season where he was capable of pitching in a major league rotation was 2006.  This year, in 31 at-bats, he’s hitting .387 with 3 doubles, a triple and homerun. 

    Ankiel has been useful after his pitching career looked done, and he has a freaking canon in the outfield.  He’s not the hitter he looked like he would end up being, he’s still a great athlete.  So… Willis should think about his options before seriously giving up before he’s 30 years old.

  33. TophersReds 3 years ago

    What is remarkable is that you have such little respect for those that play the game. 

  34. TophersReds 3 years ago

    Too far. 

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