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 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.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport and Host of the BSR Podcast.  You can send him an email: or follow him on Twitter @zamwi.


About The Author

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.


  1. I personally think this deal is fine, because it is very low risk. He once was great, and though he is not now, what is the harm in signing him? If he is terrible, oh well, the Orioles didn’t spend much money to get him, if he can contribute at all, then that is good for the team.

  2. When this guy came up 5-6 years ago, he was one of the most electrifying pitchers in the game. All these years later, he’s just another washed up dud that the organization brings in out of desperation to try to squeeze a few innings out of. I would have liked the move in 2007, today it’s just another sad page in Orioles history.

  3. Good move by the O’s. I think Willis can help in certain situations.

  4. 30 + years old? Check

    ERA of 5.00 last year? Check

    Yup, it fits the profile for the O’s.

    Is it a “bad” signing? I guess not. It’s a minor league deal.

    It’s a “nothing” signing because he will do nothing to improve the product on the field. That’s if he even sees the field.

    Zach, you are misreading the outrage. The Willis signing isn’t what outrages the few fans they have. It’s symbolic of what the Orioles have become. Insert another washed up “name” guy and you’d get the same reaction.

    Nothing against Willis. I like the kid. But adding him to this organization is like adding a sweet hood ornament to a Yugo.

    Probably 90 losses? It’s like death and taxes now.

    The Orioles have now become the most irrelevant team in MLB.

    • Nothing wrong with a sweet hood ornament on that Yugo, if that Yugo helps get yoy to 90 wins! What do you drive? A Greyhound or a Trailways?

  5. Typical move for the O’s , old and cheap , that is the way Peter the Great pays his pitchers……

  6. Old and cheap….? What’s wrong wit that? It’s gotten Mark through life so far…!

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