January 12, 1982
Cincinnati was Dontrelle Willis‘ final stop in the major leagues. In 13 games for the Reds, D-Train only won one decision, losing six and posting a 5.00 ERA. Despite his subpar performance, he was a ton of fun to watch and I was rooting for him to turn it around.
The D-Train signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers in January, and was working out with the club in spring training. Last week, Dontrelle Willis announced that he was retiring, officially ending his latest comeback attempt. Originally drafted by the Cubs in 2000, Willis was traded in 2002 along with three other players to the Marlins for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement. At the major league level, Willis played for the Marlins (2003-2007), Tigers (2008-2010), Diamondbacks (2010), and Reds (2011). He also signed on with Giants, Phillies, Orioles, Cubs (again), Angels, Giants (again), and Brewers, but never reached the top level with those organizations.
I’m a bit taken aback at this news.
One of the bright spots on the Reds’ pitching staff last year, Dontrelle Willis jumped ship to sign with the Phillies in December. But now, he has been let go.
Big League Stew dug up an interesting quote about his contract…
“You’d have to ask my agent that, I think it’s guaranteed,” a slightly puzzled Willis said last month. “I hope it is. Or else I’ve got to fire him, you know what I mean? I think it’s guaranteed.”
But after thinking about it, Willis seem unconcerned.
“I never look at it. Who cares?” Willis said. “It’s not about the money for me. It’s not like I have one of the big deals like the starters. That’s irrelevant. I just want to get people out. You know what I mean?”
I enjoyed watching Willis with the Reds last year, so there is a part of me that wants to see him come back to Cincinnati. At the same time, we have such depth at the pitching position, I’m not sure we really need him, especially if he has lost his touch again.
What do you think? Would you welcome Dontrelle to your pitching staff?
I was taken aback this morning when I saw a Tweet written by Matt Maloney, but he wasn’t wearing a Reds cap in his photo. It seems Mo was claimed off waivers in November by the Minnesota Twins. I remember seeing his first big league start and being very impressed by his poise during that game. He has gone through some rough patches, but that is to be expected with most young players. It is unfortunate that he won’t rise to stardom with the Reds, but I have a feeling that he will develop into a very good player.
I was aware of the departure of the other two. Dontrelle Willis signed with the Phillies as a free agent in December. I had hoped the Reds would bring him back. He was an absolute beast on the mound, with very little run support. His 1-6 record is very misleading.
I also thought Dave Sappelt would be our left fielder for the next several seasons. He was traded to the Cubs along with Travis Wood (another of my favorites) and a minor leaguer for reliever Sean Marshall. Left field is still a huge question mark for the Reds. Will Chris Heisey step up and take the lead? Or will an unknown storm into spring training and win the job?
I know I said I wouldn’t say anything else unless something extraordinary happened, but I think this qualifies, sort of: Dontrelle Willis is the first pitcher this year to hit for the “season cycle” (a single, double, triple, and home run)…and he’s only played in 6 games! Last year, Reds pitcher Travis Wood was the only pitcher to accomplish the “season cycle.”
We now resume our normal groaning at another Reds loss.