I Actually Like The Dontrelle Willis Signing
The outrage for the Orioles signing of Dontrelle Willis is baffling in my mind. Are we surprised that at the end of March the Orioles are signing a free agent pitcher that hasn’t had an an effective season since 2007?
If you flipped on local sports talk radio this morning and heard a former NFL general manager break down this move, you would have thought that the Orioles had traded Adam Jones to Cleveland for Felix Pie. (Side Note: I’m not sure why you would expect a former NFL GM to give much insight on this story, but that’s another topic for another day).
From my perspective, this wasn’t a bad signing at all.
Willis comes to Baltimore on a minor league deal after a year in which he threw 75.2 innings for the Reds with a 5.00 ERA, 57 strikeouts and 37 walks. Probably not the numbers you would hope to see from a guy putting on the cartoon bird hat this season.
However, Dan Duquette told Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com that Willis was brought in to be “a lockdown left-handed reliever against left-handed hitters” and he held those hitters to a .127 batting average last season.
He’ll also provide depth for the Orioles in case they need a spot starter during the season. Wouldn’t you rather throw out a veteran than rush a guy to the big leagues?
Yeah, D-Train isn’t the big name guy that he used to be. But the Orioles aren’t selling him like he is. He’s a lefty specialist, so let’s all just relax and enjoy what will still probably be a 90+ loss season.