Dontrelle Willis Rumors
As if the Phillies didn't already have enough stars on the disabled list, Hunter Pence missed Monday's game due to a shoulder injury suffered diving for a ball Sunday against the Padres. The extent of the injury is yet unknown and Pence is considered day-to-day for the time being.
Some news from Monday in the Major Leagues...
- Dontrelle Willis talks to MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko about the situation that resulted in Willis being placed on the Orioles' restricted list. Willis is "almost dumbfounded" by how things unfolded, as he thought he and the O's had agreed to part ways since he was injured and not adjusting well to relief pitching. "I don't understand what's really going on. I don't know if there's been a miscommunication there," Willis said. "Not with me. I talked to my agent and we talked about it, I talked to the proper representation, I talked to Dan [Duquette] personally....It was face-to-face. I don't know what's going on. And now if I want to sign with another team, I can't."
- Kubatko hears that Willis has drawn interest from a team in South Korea and a team in Japan, but Matt Sosnick, Willis' agent, denies that his client has received any offers.
- The Marlins' signing of Ivan Rodriguez in 2003 was "money well spent," team president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest tells Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Beinfest doesn't regret any of the moves the club made that season (even trading then-prospect Adrian Gonzalez for Ugueth Urbina) because it led to a championship. "You always hate to trade away a talent like Adrian Gonzalez. But you make it every day if you're going to win the World Series," Beinfest said.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum hopes Rodrigo Lopez will clear waivers and remain with the organization, reports ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla. The right-hander was designated for assignment earlier today as the Cubs added Michael Bowden to the roster.
- Pedro Alvarez's struggles inspired a discussion of the greatest draft busts in history in this mailbag piece from Baseball America's Jim Callis. Alvarez, taken by the Pirates with the second overall pick of the 2008 draft, could be "the biggest waste of hitting talent in draft history" unless he turns himself around, Callis writes.
- Twins President Dave St. Peter told Jim Memolo and Jeff Nelson on MLB Network Radio that his team needs to pitch better to recover from its 5-11 start. St. Peter suggested the Twins could move Francisco Liriano to the bullpen temporarily. “He’s an asset for this franchise and we need to get him back into a situation where he can go deep into ballgames,” St Peter said. The 28-year-old lefty faces a make or break year and it was announced today that Liriano would skip his next start and not pitch until May 1.
Dontrelle Willis is on the restricted list following a difference of opinion on the left-hander's role in the Orioles' minor league system. Willis left Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate over the weekend, believing he had been released when he had actually been placed on the restricted list.
"My understanding is that the Orioles people involved in telling Dontrelle he could have his release reiterated that commitment to Dan Duquette," Agent Matt Sosnick told MLBTR's Tim Dierkes. "Yet Duquette refused to honor that and instead put Dontrelle on the restricted list. We ended up reading about him being put on the restricted list in the news. It's the craziest thing. Our expectation is that Dontrelle will be removed from the restricted list today."
Willis left the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate without permission, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported today. Duquette, Baltimore's executive VP of baseball operations, confirmed to Heyman that the sides had a difference of opinion on whether Willis should start or pitch out of the bullpen. Duquette hopes Willis will return and believes he can be an effective reliever, Heyman reports.
Here's the latest from Charm City...
- Zach Britton underwent two rounds of platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy today in an effort to solve the inflammation in his throwing shoulder. The young left-hander told reporters (including Brittany Ghiroli from MLB.com) that Dr. James Andrews recommended the procedure and if it works, Britton will be able to avoid surgery. Britton will be sidelined for at least six weeks and he hopes to be pitching by early May.
- Dontrelle Willis said he received offers from other teams before signing with the Orioles, tweets Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun.
- The O's plan to use Willis as a left-handed relief specialist and he'll start the season in the minors, Dan Duquette told reporters (including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com). Duquette also said the team would look out for other available pitchers but are concentrating on evaluating their current arms in camp.
- "It's going to be hard to pick up another catcher this time of the year," Duquette said, indicating that the Orioles will stick with Ronny Paulino as their backup catcher if Taylor Teagarden has to spend time on the disabled list.
The Orioles will sign Dontrelle Willis to a minor league contract, report ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun reports (on Twitter) that Willis will make $700K in the big leagues. The Sosnick Cobbe client was released by the Phillies last week.
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. An ineffective Spring Training with Philadelphia led to his release.
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).
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.
Here are some miscellaneous notes from around the league...
- The Marlins are not expected to show interest in their former ace Dontrelle Willis, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter). The Phillies released Willis earlier today.
- "Before I signed here, I saw what [the Marlins were] trying to do," said Jose Reyes to David Lennon of Newsday. "That's why I decide to come here to Miami, because of the opportunity to win. Because in my ninth year in the big leagues, I don't win anything yet."
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports expects Adam Dunn to rebound from his disastrous 2011 campaign with the White Sox. The 32-year-old slugger said "ninety percent of what happened was simple, mental."
- Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava spoke to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm about a number of the team's prospects, including David Cooper, Travis d'Arnaud, and Anthony Gose.
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.
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.
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.