D-Train Coming to Philly

The Phillies have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with left-hander Dontrelle Willis, a source confirmed today. The source said the deal is pending a physical and is worth less than $1 million, plus incentives. Willis went 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts last season with the Cincinnati Reds.

Willis could fill a variety of roles for the Phillies. He could compete for a spot in the rotation, although a spot in the bullpen seems much more likely. If everybody is healthy, the Phillies rotation includes Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Vance Worley with Kyle Kendrick in the mix. In the  bullpen, Willis could be a swingman or left-handed specialist. The Phillies have been looking for a veteran left-hander in the bullpen.

Willis won the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year Award and finished second in the 2005 Cy Young Award voting, but started to battle serious control problems the following season and hasn’t been the same pitcher since. But Willis also had fantastic splits against lefties last season. They hit just .127/.169/.200 against him in 55 at-bats, making a lefty specialist role look like a good spot for him.

20 Comments

Surprise, but low risk. His splits against lefties are stellar, just don’t know if he can adjust to a bulpen role.

That is my question as well, can he adjust to a bullpen role? But, more importantly, is this the role for which the Phillies signed him rather than some fingers-crossed hope that he rediscovers his prior glory?

Considering the depth of their starting pitching, I’m pretty certain that he’s slated for the bullpen.

A wonderful no risk move. He’s slated for the pen as a lefty specialist allowing Bastardo to be the set up man. If we need a # 6 starter (like last year when both Worley and KK had to fill in) he will be in the mix assuming he stretches his arm out) best case he is a great addition, worst case, he’s this year’s Romero

Welcome to the Ironpigs Dontrelle.

I like it! I remember, “back in the day”, Chase being asked which pitcher he most hated facing. With Dontrelle being his answer. Of course, that was when Dontrelle was at the top of his game.

I doubt the Phils want to go with 3 Aces who are lefties. Also, isn’t Bastardo already a lefty specialist? It’s low-risk-high-reward, so even if they release him before the 2012 season begins, it won’t cost them much. If he can make the team’s opening-day roster, I think it will be like having an extra pinch hitter on the bench, since the dude can rake too.

Found a funny video with D-Train and posted it on the blog.

I just don’t sign on with this signing. Willis can’t simply have just lost his skills, there must be some explanation for his collapse.

This move by the Phillies is a real head scratcher after they have Halladay, Hamels, and Lee on the team, and try to augment them with Willis.

It’s way out there… Can we be witnessing the first of many poor moves by the club?

Augment the Aces with Willis? What are you smoking? Dontrelle Willis will be lucky to get to pitch to a randon lefthanded hitter in the 7th inning. His contract isn’t even a guaranteed ML contract.

So, in the long, grand history of baseball, nobody ever “simply lost his skills?” What are you implying?

Hate to cloud the issue with facts, but rather than losing his skills, he had one great season.
In 2004 he was 10-11 with a 4.02 ERA. In 2005 he was runner-up for the Cy Young Award at 22-10 and 2.63.
The next two years he was 12-12 with 3.87 and 10-15 with 5.17.
Rather than asking how he lost his skills, you should be asking how he had such a great year in 2005. Oterwise, he’s a sub-500 pitcher.

He wasn’t too shabby in 2003 either. ROY, 14-6, 3.30 ERA.

I assume he was signed to pinch-hit.

bastardo is the set up guy, not the lefty specialist.

FIJ……. he has to earn that position in the pen. You’re giving it to him out right.

Todd, why is the Phillies marketing dept. working harder than the GM. Dontrell Willis, Lance Nix, Jim Thome, Ty Wigginton…really??? In the meantime there are road trips, spring training, 6 game packages, 12 days of Christmas, Hot Stove and Phanatic. Are they trying to tell us something???

All of those marketing items come up every year. There’s nothing unusual there. What is unusual is that Ruben has chosen to ignore the glaring problem with this ballclub.

Erich,he earned it last year. Its his to lose. So far I am happy with the moves made this offseason. Yes, it would be nice to have signed a 3B to replace Poly, but we have to be realistic about how much money they can and will spend. Assuming that JRoll is back (for good or bad) what they’ve done is improved their hitting off the bench, which was so lacking last year. THe assumption must be that everyone will stay healthy. Only thing I’m a bit concerned about is what happens if one of the INF gets hurt before Howard is back-Valdez doesn’t do it for me every day

Valdez doesn’t do it for a -lot- of people every day.

FIJ, Bastardo’s splits show that he can pitch to right-handed hitters too, but he is much better when facing lefties, which is how the Phils should keep it until Antonio proves he can be the set-up guy.

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