Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dontrelle Willis Designated for Assignment

The Tigers have Designated Dontrelle Willis for assignment to make room for Max Scherzer, who will be pitching tomorrow.  Willis had a 4.98 ERA in eight starts and one relief appearance but he pitched worse than his ERA indicated.  He was having his usual trouble locating the plate this year walking about six batter per nine innings and his velocity had diminished in recent starts.  He made some progress over 2008-2009 when he walked over nine batters per nine innings, but not enough.

The charismatic Willis was a pleasure to watch in his prime with the Florida Marlins.  He has always been positive and upbeat even through all his struggles with the Tigers.  By all accounts, his enthusiasm is genuine and he is well liked.  So many fans were pulling for him to come through but it never worked out as a Tiger.

He originally seemed to be a footnote to the blockbuster trade which sent him and Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and four others.  His contract extension prior to the 2008 season was mystifying because he had already started his decline prior to the trade.  It has been theorized by some that it was done to help them sign his friend Cabrera.  That seems like an odd business move but we'll probably never know.  

Regardless of his contract or how you feel about him as a person, his removal from the roster was long overdue.  He is being replaced in the rotation by Max Scherzer,who has much better stuff and a lot more upside.  Armando Galarraga will stay for now.  If the Tigers stay in the race, however, you can bet that they'll in the market for a starting pitcher this summer.  

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