Giants Get Dontrelle Willis (About 5 Years Too Late)
The report came in today that the Giants have signed lefty Dontrelle Willis to a minor league deal. With Willis reporting to Fresno for league minimum, it’s hard to hate this deal. It costs us very little from a financial standpoint, and gives us some added insurance down in AAA should something go wrong.
The real story here is the downfall of Willis that began when he lost the strike zone in 2006, the year after he won 22 games. He was never a strike out pitcher, and relied heavily on a deceptive delivery and average offspeed pitches. Inexplicably, his walk rate went from 2.09 BB/9 in 2005, to 3.34 in 2006. Since then he’s never been the same pitcher, battling mechanical issues, chronic anxiety, and shattered expectations.
The story of Dontrelle, a Bay Area kid from Oakland, is tragic. After bursting onto the scene in 2003 to win Rookie of the Year, expectations have run high for him ever since. To see someone fall so far is at best disappointing. So if by some miracle the guy can work his out his problems and contribute down the road, I see no reason why that shouldn’t happen in San Francisco (or Fresno for that matter). Welcome to the Giants Dontrelle; here’s hoping you find yourself now that you’re closer to home.