Dontrelle Willis Rumors

NL East Notes: Vizcaino, Phillies, Mets, Lannan

Earlier today MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reviewed the Marlins' busy offseason. Here are some more links from the NL East…

  • Braves GM Frank Wren told reporters that reliever Arodys Vizcaino will miss the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. The 21-year-old right-hander appeared in 17 games with the Braves last year and entered the season as the 40th-best prospect in MLB, according to Baseball America.
  • The Phillies could start the season with prospect Freddy Galvis at second base, or explore the trade market for alternatives. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears from rival executives that there’s a short list of veteran middle infielders available in trades. Maicer Izturis, Alberto Callaspo, Chris Getz and Blake DeWitt appear to be options for teams seeking infield depth. 
  • Even though they're short on left-handed relief, the Mets are unlikely to sign C.J. Nitkowski, Hong-Chih Kuo or Dontrelle Willis, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports.
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears the Nationals "still have a lot of motivation" to trade John Lannan and his $5MM salary (Twitter link).

Rockies Will Consider Dontrelle Willis

The Rockies are always looking to add pitching depth, and today the team will internally discuss whether to pursue Dontrelle Willis according to Troy Renck of The Denver Post. The Phillies released the southpaw yesterday.

“It’s tough at this point in camp, but we will take a look at it,” said GM Dan O’Dowd.

Colorado has left-handed relievers Rex Brothers and Matt Reynolds on the 40-man roster, but it should only take a minor league contract to land Willis at this point. The 30-year-old has held lefty batters to a .178/.245/.248 batting line with a 5.0 K/BB ratio in 143 plate appearances over the last two seasons. Yesterday we heard that the Marlins were unlikely to have interest in bringing their former ace back.


Quick Hits: Willis, Marlins, Reyes, Dunn, Blue Jays

Here are some miscellaneous notes from around the league…



Yankees Notes: Pineda, Ibanez, Willis

The Yankees have averaged more than 97 regular season wins per year since 1996. Here's the latest on the 2012 club via Joel Sherman of the New York Post…

  • Yankees officials say Michael Pineda is a hard worker and his teammates say he’s mixing in well, Sherman reports. There’s been some concern about Pineda’s velocity and conditioning this spring, but Sherman points out that it’s wise to avoid definitive statements based on Spring Training information.
  • The Yankees say they aren’t worried about Raul Ibanez’s spring struggles, Sherman tweets. Ibanez has been facing more left-handed pitching than he will during the regular season.
  • The Yankees offered Dontrelle Willis a minor league deal this offseason, Sherman tweets. The Yankees might look into signing Willis, who was released by the Phillies this morning.

Phillies Release Dontrelle Willis

The Phillies announced that they released left-hander Dontrelle Willis. The Sosnick Cobbe client signed a one-year, $1MM contract with Philadelphia in December and had been expected to contribute out of the bullpen.

Willis pitched 75 2/3 innings for the Reds in 2011 — his highest total since 2007. The 30-year-old southpaw posted a 5.00 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and a 54.5% ground ball rate in 13 second half starts with Cincinnati this past season. The Mariners, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Reds reportedly had interest in Willis as a reliever before he signed with the Phillies.


Phillies Notes: Trades, Pierre, Willis, Playoffs

The Phillies won a franchise-record 102 games last season, but were denied a World Series berth by the now-champion Cardinals. This offseason, they re-signed Jimmy Rollins, extended Kyle Kendrick, and added Jonathan Papelbon, Jim Thome, Laynce Nix, and Dontrelle Willis to bolster their bench and bullpen. Here's the latest on the defending NL East Champions…

  • GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and assistant GM Benny Looper are well aware that trades they've made to acquire Roy Halladay, Hunter Pence, and others will eventually be painful, writes Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Amaro and Looper both discuss how difficult it was to part ways with players like Travis d'Arnaud and Anthony Gose. Amaro didn't deny the November report that he attempted to re-acquire D'Arnaud.
  • The Phillies are the only team who reached out to Juan Pierre this offseason, the outfielder told the Miami Herald's Manny Navarro. Pierre inked a minor league deal back in January.
  • In the same piece, Navarro writes that Willis and Pierre are happy to be in camp together. The pair won a World Series together with the Marlins in 2003, and have remained very close friends since. Pierre is the godfather of all three of Willis' daughters, and the two refer to each other as "brothers." Willis also noted that the Marlins have shown interest in him again since trading him.
  • Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Halladay isn't a big fan of the extended playoffs. Halladay doesn't like the concept of opening a five-game series with two road games, nor does he like the thought of a 162-game season coming down to one game.
  • Freddy Galvis is working out at second base and third base with the hopes of making the big league team as a utility infielder now that Rollins has re-signed, according to the Inquirer's Matt Gelb.

Contract Details: Tejeda, Blue Jays, Phillies, Pirates

MLB.com's beat reporters have been digging up details on some recent minor league deals. Here are the latest updates:


NL East Links: Oswalt, Davis, Cedeno, Cuddyer

Here's the latest from the National League East…


Phillies Sign Dontrelle Willis

The Phillies announced that they have signed left-hander Dontrelle Willis to pitch out of the bullpen. The contract is worth approximately $1MM and includes performance bonuses for the Sosnick Cobbe client, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports. 

“Dontrelle, I believe, is at a point in his career where he is ready to make the transition to being an effective reliever,” GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement.

Willis pitched 75 2/3 innings as a starter for the Reds in 2011 — his highest total since 2007. The left-hander posted a 5.00 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and a 54.5% ground ball rate in 13 second half starts with Cincinnati this past season. However, stats such as xFIP (4.08) and SIERA (4.29) suggest Willis' ERA may have been inflated. Willis, who turns 30 next month, signed a minor league contract last offseason.

Crasnick first reported that the sides were nearing a deal and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly first reported that they had reached an agreement (Twitter link). The Mariners, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Reds also had interest in Willis as a reliever, Crasnick reports.


Phillies, Dontrelle Willis Nearing Deal

The Phillies are nearing a one-year deal with Dontrelle Willis, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The contract would be worth approximately $1MM and would include performance bonuses for Willis, a Sosnick Cobbe client.

Willis pitched 75 2/3 innings for the Reds in 2011 — his highest total since 2007. He posted a 5.00 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and a 54.5% ground ball rate in 13 second half starts with Cincinnati this past season. However, stats such as xFIP (4.08) and SIERA (4.29) suggest Willis' ERA may have been inflated. Willis, who turns 30 next month, signed a minor league contract last offseason.

This post was first published on December 13th, 2011.