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.