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.