Blog Entry

A sad, sad story

Posted on: March 29, 2009 1:53 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2009 1:58 pm

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- We all remember what Dontrelle Willis was.

"Dontrelle had a very special arm," Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew was saying this morning.

A special arm, and a special personality. He was a 22-game winner, and he was fun.

"Even the scouts loved watching him," one big-league scout said.

Somehow, it all went wrong.

Who knows how? Who knows why? Maybe the "anxiety disorder" the Tigers cited today when they put Willis on the disabled list is part of the reason.

What we do know is that Willis is still only 27 years old. If his arm is healthy -- and he has insisted this spring that it is -- it's plausible that he could someday be a successful major-league pitcher again.

"It's probably all still there," said Drew, who remembers Willis from the National League, back when Willis really was something special.

I won't ask you to feel sorry for Willis, who has made nearly $19 million and has another $22 million coming as part of his contract with the Tigers. I won't ask you to feel sorry for the Tigers, who never should have given him that contract.

But this is a sad story, because the old Dontrelle was so much fun and was so good for the game. That Dontrelle hasn't been there, not this spring, not last year and not even in his final years with the Marlins.

Somehow, it all went wrong, to the point where the Tigers absolutely could not have opened this season with Willis on their roster. It's not just that he couldn't help them. It's that he was so bad that keeping him around would have sent a message that contracts mattered more than winning.

The two choices seemed to be sending him to the minor leagues (and getting him to accept the assignment), or releasing him and eating the money.

The Tigers don't have to make that decision now. It's not clear how soon Willis will even try to pitch again. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters in Lakeland that the doctors will decide the course of action.

Maybe they can help. And maybe this sad story still can have a happy ending.





Category: MLB

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 10:52 pm

A sad, sad story

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:44 am

A sad, sad story

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:19 pm

A sad, sad story

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A sad, sad story

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A sad, sad story

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:14 am

A sad, sad story

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 4, 2011 11:32 am

A sad, sad story

Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 8:10 pm
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Since: Mar 28, 2009
Posted on: March 31, 2009 6:14 pm

A sad, sad story

Good baseball guy. not just in between the lines. just a happy young dude with a lot of love for life and the game. i really hope he can turn it round, why not, hes still young. maybe he can pick a bat up and play the outfield like Ankiel did. he could always hit and is still young enough to go to the minors and play just like Ankiel did. very sad for baseball since there just arent that many african american ballplayers these days. plus the fact tht he was playing in Detriot where he could have an impact on kids with such a huge black community there. ptcher of outfield- good look Dontrell, hope to see you soon




Since: Apr 9, 2008
Posted on: March 30, 2009 1:26 am

A sad, sad story

 The key point in this article is that he never should have been given that contract. I still cant figure out why Dombrowski gave the deal Willlis was coming off a bad year and was only going to be eligible for arbitration, why didnt they let him pitch out the year and evaluate him after the season. The contracts the Tigers have on the books for bad pitchers like Willis and Robertson are killing the team.

It makes me laugh all the talk of Willis being converted to an slugging OF like Ankiel. Willis is a nice hiter for a pitcher but the problem is he is making 22 million the next two years, when Ankiel was converted he was making very little money. For Willis to earn that money he would have to be an all star immediately in the OF.

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