Dontrelle Willis Rumors

Phillies, Dontrelle Willis Nearing Deal

The Phillies are nearing a one-year deal with Dontrelle Willis, according to'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.

Ohio Notes: Thome, Jimenez, Willis, Reds

As the Indians celebrate Jim Thome Night at Progressive Field, it's only fitting that the veteran slugger provide the party's highlight.  Thome hit his 15th homer of the year (and 604th of his career) this evening, which led to an obligatory curtain call for the Cleveland fans.

Here's the latest about the Indians and Reds, including one item about Thome himself…

  • Thome says he's physically capable of playing another season, reports The Associated Press.  Thome says he'll discuss things with his family this winter and he currently isn't leaning one way or the other towards retirement.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez has regressed from his 2010 form, but's Jordan Bastian argues that it is far too early for Tribe fans to give up on the right-hander.
  • Dontrelle Willis "would love" to pitch for the Reds in 2012 and praised the organization for giving him a chance to resurrect his career, reports's Mark Sheldon.  Willis is an intriguing veteran depth option for any team, and since his asking price won't be too exorbitant, it wouldn't be a shock to see him re-sign in Cincinnati.
  • The Reds' coaches will all return in 2012, Walt Jocketty tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link).

Quick Hits: Red Sox, Iannetta, Santana, Willis

Joey Votto celebrated his 28th birthday with a 3-for-4 performance today against the Rockies, including his 27th homer of the year.  It wasn't enough, however, as Cincinnati dropped a 12-7 result to Colorado.

Some notes from around the majors….

  • The Red Sox could use another solid starting pitcher but "for the moment don't feel there's anyone out there available who's better than what they have," a team official tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
  • The Rockies will give catcher Wilin Rosario a lot of playing time this month as they decide what to do with Chris Iannetta this winter, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post.  If Rosario plays well, Colorado may decide to deal Iannetta, who's due to make $3.55MM in 2012.  Iannetta's name was mentioned in trade rumors involving the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Pirates and Padres at the July deadline.
  • Johan Santana will probably not pitch in the Major Leagues for the Mets this season, reports Anthony DiComo for
  • Dontrelle Willis probably won't be back with the Reds next season, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Willis has re-established himself as a big league starter this year but Fay figures that this progress has likely priced the southpaw out of the Reds' range.
  • Another Red who likely won't be back in Cincinnati next year is Paul Janish, opines Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News.  Despite some excellent glovework (a +11.6 UZR/150 at shortstop this year), Janish will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter and is probably a non-tender candidate with Zack Cozart taking over at short.
  • Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune says several American League scouts have asked him about Jesus Guzman's fielding ability in recent weeks, a sign that AL teams could have an interest in Guzman as a DH candidate.  Center discusses Guzman, Bud Black's status, a possible extension for Cameron Maybin and other Padres-related topics in an online chat with fans.
  • Andruw Jones has been playing all season with a small tear in his left knee, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.  The Yankees discovered the injury during Jones' physical but signed the veteran outfielder anyway  (both Twitter links).

Players Who Cleared Waivers

This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.

Updated 8-30-11 at 10:56pm

Starting pitchers

  • Aaron Harang, Padres - Harang's ERA is a respectable 3.92 with 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
  • Dontrelle Willis, Reds – Willis has bounced back with the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 56.8% groundball rate in 52 2/3 innings.
  • Carlos Zambrano, Cubs – Zambrano cleared waivers prior to being placed on the disqualified list.  He has a short fuse, lousy stats, and over $22MM remaining on his contract through next year.
  • Rodrigo Lopez, Cubs – Not surprising to see the journeyman clear waivers.
  • Chris Capuano, Mets – Capuano owns a 3.74 SIERA as of August 14th and earns only $1.5MM plus incentives, so it's hard to see why a few teams didn't place claims.
  • Bronson Arroyo, Reds – His peripheral stats haven't changed much, but Arroyo has a 5.31 ERA as of August 15th.  $15MM of his $35MM contract is deferred through 2021 without interest.  The deferrals are voided if he's traded, however.  At any rate, expect Arroyo to stay put.
  • Bruce Chen, Royals – Chen has his moments, but it's not surprising to see him clear waivers.
  • Jason Vargas, Mariners – Like many of the starters here, Vargas' fastball wouldn't break a window.  But he has less than a million bucks left on his contract this year and is under team control through 2013.  He'd fit nicely at the back end of several rotations.    
  • Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals – His three starts this season were his first in over two years, so it's understandable that contenders wouldn't jump to claim him.
  • Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals – Booted to the bullpen last month, the 29-year-old flyballing southpaw has posted strong strikeout rates in recent years but can't hold a rotation job.
  • Ted Lilly, Dodgers – He always has strong strikeout-to-walk numbers, but is prone to the longball.  With over 82% of his $33MM contract remaining ($27MM+), it's no surprise he cleared waivers.


  • Joe Nathan, Twins - Nathan won't be traded, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
  • Chad Qualls, Padres – Qualls is enjoying a bounce-back season, though his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 this year.
  • Bill Bray, Reds – Bray has been decent this year, and a little tougher against lefties.  He'll be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason.
  • Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers – A dominant reliever last year, Kuo has dealt with a back injury and anxiety disorder as his control has eluded him.
  • Huston Street, Rockies – Between a recent triceps injury and the $9MM+ owed to him through 2012, Street was expected to clear.
  • Brian Fuentes, Athletics – He's owed over $6MM through next year, and has been mediocre for the A's.
  • Jon Rauch, Blue Jays – Rauch is affordable, but he's on the DL for an appendectomy and wasn't great before that.
  • Mike Gonzalez, Orioles – Gonzalez has been dominant in August, and against lefties.  The problem is that he's still owed almost a million bucks.
  • Kevin Gregg, Orioles – Gregg might be the worst reliever holding down a closer's job, and he's owed at least $6.4MM through next year.
  • John Grabow, Cubs – He's been ineffective even against lefties, and he has over $700K remaining.
  • D.J. Carrasco, Mets – The Mets signed Carrasco to a two-year deal in December – their biggest acquisition of the offseason - but optioned him to Triple-A in April.  He stayed there until mid-June.

Position players

  • Aramis Ramirez, Cubs – In July, Ramirez's agent said that his client would consider an August deal but he has since had a change of heart.  The Cubs hold an option on Ramirez's deal worth $16MM.
  • Alfonso Soriano, Cubs – This one was also obvious.  SI's Jon Heyman notes on Twitter that the Cubs are willing to pay a "major, major chunk" of the $58.35MM owed to the left fielder through 2014.
  • Lance Berkman, Cardinals – Berkman has said he hopes to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, when he hits free agency.  Still, it's a surprise to see him clear waivers.
  • Ryan Theriot, Cardinals - Theriot earns $3.3MM this year and will be a non-tender candidate after the season.
  • David Wright, Mets - It's surprising that Wright cleared waivers, but it doesn't mean the Mets have interest in dealing him. Wright earns $15MM next year and can void a $16MM club option for 2013 if traded.
  • Conor Jackson, Athletics – Olney notes that the Red Sox asked about the light-hitting 1B/LF/RF, but there doesn't seem to be any traction there.
  • David DeJesus, Athletics – DeJesus has had a rough year but could at least be useful against right-handed pitching.
  • Hideki Matsui, Athletics – The Athletics have several waiver trade candidates, and Matsui's hot second half and low salary (owed less than $2MM the rest of the season) could make him a popular target.
  • Jason Bay, Mets – With Bay being owed at least $38.8MM through 2013, this was expected.  It's only been 12 games, but Bay is at least having his first good month of 2011.
  • Willie Harris, Mets – The versatile Harris has less than $200K left on his contract.
  • Angel Pagan, Mets – It's been a dismal year for Pagan, who may be in line for a non-tender after the season.
  • Carlos Lee, Astros – No surprise here, as the 35-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.417 and is owed almost $23MM through next year.  El Caballo's ten-and-five rights kick in after the season.
  • Johnny Damon, Rays – Damon blocked an August trade last summer and 12 months later he's a candidate to be traded once again.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.

Stark On Astros, Damon, Jimenez, Rockies

There's now almost no chance that MLB will expand the playoffs by next year, according to Jayson Stark of It's far from a lock that the postseason will expand under baseball's upcoming collective bargaining agreement, despite heavy rumblings about expanded playoffs. The union views postseason changes as part of a series of related possible changes, which is why we won't necessarily see more playoff teams by 2012, according to Stark. Here are the rest of his rumors…

  • Incoming Astros owner Jim Crane has told commissioner Bud Selig privately that he wants to keep the Astros in the NL Central. However, MLB might look to move Houston to the AL West to even out baseball's divisions.
  • Johnny Damon cleared waivers and can now be dealt to any team, according to Stark. Rival teams say Damon didn't draw heavy trade interest last month.
  • Stark hears that the MRI the Indians took of Ubaldo Jimenez came back "remarkably clean."
  • Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who has often been mentioned as a possible successor to Selig, isn't lobbying to become the next commissioner, according to a longtime associate. "If he did it, he'd do it out of loyalty to the game. But I wouldn't say he has a burning passion to do it."
  • The Rockies are saying they'd like to swap Ian Stewart for another player who could use a change of scenery. However, other clubs recognize that Stewart is a non-tender candidate, so his trade value is not high.
  • The Rockies could take a flyer on J.C. Romero, according to Stark.
  • One NL scout says Dontrelle Willis looks as good as he has in three or four years.

Next Move For Dontrelle Willis?

Dontrelle Willis was scratched from his start for the Louisville Bats tonight, leading to speculation that the Reds are calling him up or he's involved in a trade.  Bronson Arroyo has dealt with a back issue this year, so it's possible Willis could take his place in the Reds' rotation for a while.

Willis' agent Matt Sosnick told me tonight that he is aware his client did not pitch, but he has no knowledge of the Reds' short-term plans.  Sosnick added:

"Based on the way that Dontrelle has pitched this year, he probably would've been in the Majors by now if not for the Reds' rotation depth.  I feel strongly that he has turned the corner.  He's in the best shape of his career and is throwing with the highest velocity he's ever had.  I feel very confident that he will be an impact player in the Major Leagues this year and for many years to come."

Willis, of course, was an impact player for the first four seasons of his career for the Marlins.  He battled anxiety and injury problems after that, bouncing around after struggling with the Tigers.  The 29-year-old has a 2.63 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, and 0.6 HR/9 in 13 starts for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate this year.

Quick Hits: Dodgers, Willis, Purke

After consecutive disappointing seasons, Kyle Lohse is averaging nearly 8.0 IP per start this year and has a 1.64 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Lohse, who signed a $41MM deal with the Cardinals in 2008, is living up to his contract so far in 2011. Here are today's links…

  • Tom Schieffer says he wants to be helpful, not disruptive, when he takes over the Dodgers' day to day operations and finances, according to Quinn Roberts of Earlier today, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt sounded intensely displeased with MLB's involvement in L.A.
  • Dontrelle Willis does not have an out clause in his contract with the Reds, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The left-hander has a 1.12 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 24 innings at Triple-A Louisville so far in 2011.
  • TCU is set to announce that left-hander Matt Purke has been cleared to return to the mound, according to’s Jonathan Mayo. That's excellent news for Purke, who was recently shut down with shoulder soreness and evaluated by Dr. James Andrews. Click here for MLBTR's Q&A with Purke.

NL Central Notes: Greinke, Reds, Cardinals

Links for Tuesday night, as the Cubs decide on the back of their rotation

  • Zack Greinke told Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post that he chose to join the Brewers over the Nationals because he felt that Milwaukee was going to win sooner than Washington. The Nationals offered Greinke a $100MM extension at one point and Greinke didn’t accept it, though he says he expects the Nationals to be a good team within a few years since owner Ted Lerner wants to win badly. Greinke didn’t rule out the possibility of playing for the Nationals once he becomes a free agent, after the 2012 season.
  • The Brewers are likely to start the season with four starters and eight relievers, according to's Adam McCalvy.
  •'s Mark Sheldon examines the Reds' bullpen and explains that Dontrelle Willis appears to have a good chance of making the team.
  • In a mailbag for, Matthew Leach suggests it’s a make or break year of sorts for Cardinals Kyle Lohse, Ryan Theriot and Skip Schumaker. They’re not the only ones with lots riding on 2011, as the MLBTR team has outlined.

Odds & Ends: Padres, Choo, Willis, Guillen

Links for Monday night. with just one day remaining for teams to determine whether to offer arbitration to their ranked free agents…

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.