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.