Giants To Sign Dontrelle Willis To Minor League Deal

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that left-hander Dontrelle Willis will sign a minor league deal with the Giants (Twitter link). Willis is a client of Sosnick/Cobbe sports.

Willis, who turns 32 on Sunday, initially began the 2013 campaign pitching for the Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks but found himself in the Angels' Triple-A rotation to close out the season. Willis posted a 2.57 ERA in 87 2/3 innings for the Ducks but struggled to a 6.43 ERA in a small, 21-inning sample size with the Halos' Triple-A club. He's consistently battled command issues over the past several seasons and did so again last season, walking 14 batters in his 21 Triple-A innings.

"The D-Train" won National League Rookie of the Year honors with the Marlins back in 2003 as a 21-year-old, and two years later he had an NL Cy Young runner-up finish under his belt heading into his age-24 season. Willis regressed a bit in that 2006 campaign, saw his ERA spike over 5.00 in 2007 and was traded to the Tigers that offseason. It's been a struggle for Willis since 2007, as he's posted a 5.65 ERA in 404 1/3 Major League innings in that time.

There's virtually no risk in the signing for the Giants, and the upside with Willis is greater than with many non-roster invitees, even if it's been years since he has succeeded at the big league level. This will be his second minor league run with the Giants, as he inked a similar deal prior to the 2010 season that didn't pan out.

28 Responses to Giants To Sign Dontrelle Willis To Minor League Deal Leave a Reply

  1. Lilstackhustla 2 years ago

    I thought this dude retired.

  2. PoseyTheGreat 2 years ago

    Here we go again …

  3. Mike LaRose 2 years ago

    Is this the year for comebacks?

  4. 2nd time’s a charm? Trying to get the 2010 mojo going? Hey, if they want to troll for a third lefty specialist because they sent Mijares packing, that’s OK with me…

  5. Rizzo44 2 years ago

    He needs to just retire. He’ll never match his 2003 Marlins season

  6. AndyWarpath 2 years ago

    there were better low risk signing options than Dontrelle Willis.

  7. Mike89 2 years ago

    Don’t understand why people are anti this signing. The dude was a 22 game winner. Can’t get much better than that.

    • johnsilver 2 years ago

      I gave up on Willis even several years back. His wind up and mechanics were bad during his 2 good season, plus never made any effort to correct them.

      Miller (Andrew) can be used as someone with mechanical issues probably that overcame them, but He addressed them and was aware of them, Willis just never tried to work on them and I always liked the guy, nothing against him.

      My money would be on Bard figuring his issues out a 2nd time (after he was drafted being the 1st) before Willis and he had a mental problem several years ago also seem to recall.

      Willis making it back, after nearly 7 years after his last good year would be a monumental feat and for the story books.

      • Hadn’t looked at Andrew Miller’s stats for 2 years. You’re right, he figured something out. I thought he was a great trade target a couple years ago.

  8. NYBravosFan10 2 years ago

    The D-Train just became the D-Trolley

  9. Karkat 2 years ago

    I hope he can see some success again. He’s young enough to stick it out for a few more years if he can return to form. I can’t even imagine trying to pitch in the majors with anxiety disorder o_o

    • alphabet_soup5 2 years ago

      Greinke does just fine with it, although I think he takes medication and considered retiring around 2006.

      In 2009, the Tigers put Dontrelle on the DL for ‘anxiety issues relating to a blood test’ or something like that. Dontrelle told the papers he was completely fine, I think his anxiety is overblown; the Tigers just wanted to get rid of him.

  10. Wooltron 2 years ago

    Bullpen depth never hurts.

  11. Guest 2 years ago

    I thought the D-Train derailed years ago? Good to hear he’s back on the rails.

  12. BWillie 2 years ago

    If he’s right-handed, he would have faded into oblivion years ago. Gotta admire him for not giving up the dream, though.

  13. MrBZito75 2 years ago

    sick, giants get DTrain, Dodgers “ALL IN” on Tanaka…perfect…

  14. bb91103 2 years ago

    Everyone deserve a fresh start. He’s only 32.

  15. citizen 2 years ago

    some player had to replace mark prior for minor league comebacks

  16. John Donovan 2 years ago

    How cool would it be if he were matched up with Mark Mulder in a game? I always wanted to be ten years younger. That match up would at least make me feel 10 years younger.

  17. Richard Schuckman 2 years ago

    Dontrelle is from Alameda. Maybe he’s trying to stay in baseball in some capacity and wantss to be around his family.

  18. KoyieHill 2 years ago

    If this guy can still get work, why not me?

  19. alphabet_soup5 2 years ago

    Can’t this guy at least be a LOOGY in somebody’s pen? Maybe DH for a team.

  20. Giants shooting for an “all faded glory” rotation? Lincecum, Vogelson, Hudson, D-Train…going for Zito to round it out? Depth is nice, but this is wading deep in the nostalgia pitching pool.

  21. Chioakcisco 2 years ago

    Maybe being close to home (Oakland) will help the D-Train? I sure hope so, I loved watching him pitch.

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