UPDATE, Thursday, 4:40 pm: Willis officially signed a one-year deal after passing his physical today. According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, there is a $25,000 bonus for 30 plate appearances made by Willis. There’s a good chance that happens, too. Willis is a career .244 hitter and last year in 31 at-bats, had an OPS of 1.032. You certainly could do worse if you needed a pinch-hitter to jump in at some point.
(Originally posted Tuesday, 10:38 am)
Former Marlins, Reds, Diamondbacks and Tigers pitcher Dontrelle Willis has signed a one-year deal with the Phillies today, pending a physical. According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com it is worth up to $1 million with incentives.
Willis has been well traveled, but held lefties to a .127 average last season with Cincinnati. Clearly, he is not the same pitcher that took MLB by storm several years ago – and is probably no longer starting material for this league – but can be a serviceable lefty reliever.
Willis was the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year, and in 2005, he finished second behind Chris Carpenter in the NL Cy Young voting, going 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA.
He no longer throws heat like he used to, but in situational spots, he could be a prime piece out of the bullpen. This is a low-risk, high-reward move by the Phillies. That is, as long as they don’t try to use him as a starter at any point. He can also help as a possible pinch-hitter at times.
Good move by Ruben Amaro Jr. here.