Phillies Release Dontrelle Willis

Posted by Corey Seidman, Fri, March 16, 2012 10:49 AM | Comments: 24

The Phillies released Dontrelle Willis on Friday.

The Phillies released Dontrelle Willis Friday morning, per the team’s official Twitter account.

Willis, who allowed five runs in 2.2 innings this Spring against 12 righties and just four lefties, was on a non-guaranteed deal.

While it was a good idea by Ruben Amaro to try to convert a deceptive pitcher on the down-swing into a left-handed specialist (lefties hit just .127 off Willis last season and .216 the year before), the plan didn’t work out as expected.

Maybe it’s for the best, as Dontrelle’s departure clears the way for a young, cheaper Phillies reliever to make the team. And Willis would have likely continued to be misused on the Phils anyway. Last season J.C. Romero faced 27 more righties than lefties. Willis is similarly ineffective against opposite-handed batters.

By cutting Willis prior to Opening Day, the Phillies save just over $700,000, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    “Willis would have likely been misused on the Phils anyway” ……. You speak the truth, and its so very frustrating to watch that as a Phillies fan ..

    We continually get shut down late in games by Lefty-Lefty matchups – but Charlie doesn’t do that to other teams (granted, last year, he couldn’t) … but i wish he would sometimes go by the book more instead of just by his gut.

    BUT …. if Willis can’t throw strikes, he’s of no use here .. and he’s just a name. May the best man win the job

    • Posts: 0 George

      It’s a stretch to say Willis would have been misused based on last year, when the Phils didn’t have a left hander besides their set-up man Bastardo. Sure, they had Romero for a short time, but he couldn’t find the plate either.

      • Posts: 0 George

        Speaking of lefty specialists, wasn’t Scott Eyre used in just that way? My point is that Charlie gets blamed too much for what he isn’t always guilty of.

  • Posts: 0 Chris

    No big deal here we have a score of lefties to choose from. It was worth a nice little gamble.

  • Posts: 0 jim

    too bad..he’s such a positive person..and a good hitter, unfortunately he’s a pitcher with control issues…hope he can turn it around somewhere.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H

    I remember how excited people were when they signed d train . I got flamed on this very site for posting that he wouldn’t even make the team. well. I was right. People have to let go of memories of players from 6 or 7 years ago when they’re long ago washed up.

    • Posts: 0 Don M

      Some of the people were excited because they thought he had a chance to battle for a starting job… which was foolish thinking . .

      most of us were just excited because there was a chance we’d have more than lefty in the bullpen!! …. Look at his numbers vs. Lefty hitters …so if the Phillies would have kept him in that LOOGY role (Lefty One Out GuY) .. turns out they have other guys that they think can contribute to that role ….

      so again, while counting on Willis for a major impact may have been foolish …. being excited about the possibility of Willis, Juan Pierre, etc .. guys that are “puzzle pieces” and had a chance to battle for a role …. that’s how the best teams are built

  • Avatar of Lil' Kim Jong-il

    The guy is coming in to camp with a past filled with head issues, and he ended up on Dubee’s wrong side after his first appearance. As far as using him the “right way”, you don’t exactly get opportunities when there are three or four consecutive lefties in a spring training game. So they were supposed to have him pitch to one batter a game and judge him by that? He really would have been a wasted roster space by being so horrific against righties. There are so many situations in games when you just can’t play that L/R game, I’d rather have a lefty that at least gives you a chance against righties.

    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      There’s value in guys who are exceptionally good at shutting down a lefty or two, even if that’s their only skill. It’s the whole reason the term LOOGY came about.

      Think about all the times you’ve seen opposing managers go to a lefty just to face Utley and Howard, and then return to the bullpen for the rest of the lineup. It’s very valuable.

      Sure, all things being equal you’d like to have a stable full of pitchers who are very good against all opposing batters, but if you have one who is excellent against LH there’s no reason to go with an inferior option who might be able to also face some RHB. That’s especially the case with this Phillies team, who will have their starters throw a ton of innings. You don’t need a deep bullpen with the Phillies, you need a bullpen that’s got a versatility to take out specific hitters in high leverage situations. That’s exactly what you use specialists for.

      • Posts: 0 Don M

        very well said – and exactly to my point ….if Charlie sees firsthand how effectively that matchup can neutralize an offense late, in tight games … why doesn’t he use his pen that way .

        I understand you can’t do that with only ONE lefty last year, Bastardo, but i’d like to see Charlie become a better Xs and Os manager ….. with the talent you have on the roster, you can’t let other teams gain advantages to steal games from you

    • Posts: 0 George

      How do you know what side of Dubee that Willis ended up on? For that matter, where did you get that “head issues” notion?

  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Don, I think the days of Charlie all the time going with his gut need to be over. I get it in some situations…but the 2008-09 years are now becoming smaller in the the rearview mirror I’m afraid.

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    I am a little surprised to see him released already. I think that says that the Phillies already have one of the kids in mind for that spot. Sad to see him go but it is really hard to debate that decision with the numbers he has put up.

  • Posts: 0 brooks

    What did you way Willis?
    A Dillusion?

    • Posts: 0 brooks

      sheesh – good bye!

  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    How much money did we save by not taking this (portion of the?) contract?

    • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

      Avatar of Corey Seidman


      • Posts: 1190 Manny

        Avatar of Manny

        “Substantial” considering we traded away Valdez to save 900K

  • Posts: 0 Psujoe

    Letting Pedro pitch to Matsui instead of using Eyre was all I needed to see to know Charlie doesn’t know how to use a LOOGY.

    • Posts: 0 George

      I’ve forgotten the exact circumstances of that game, but it seems to me that Matsui was hitting everybody. It also seems to me that sometimes you have to keep your starter in for as many innings as possible. The Phils bullpen was pretty used up that year.

      • Posts: 1190 Manny

        Avatar of Manny

        Completely disagree. We’re talking about the WS here. You gotta go and win the game at hand with everything you got.

      • Posts: 0 George

        I didn’t expect for people to agree. I’m just saying that there is sometimes more to a manager’s decision than meets the eye. Eyre may have been a better option, but who would have come in after him to face the righties? And who would have pitched against the lefties later? The Phils had very few bullpen options that year. I can imagine the fan reaction if Lidge came in after Eyre and blew it: “What a stupid move using that clown with his 9.00 ERA.” Or if Matsui had clobbered Eyre: “Shoulda left Pedro in!”

        Although we all might think Manuel had a better choice, it’s quite possible he didn’t. I seem to recall that Scott Eyre wasn’t 100% going into the series, and maybe he just couldn’t be used that day. We’re not the ones making the choices because we don’t know what options are truly available. It’s only second guesses that are always right.

      • Posts: 5233 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Are you talking about Hideki Matsui, World Series MVP? The one with a .615 BA, 3 HR’s and 8 RBI?

        Scott Eyre was not going to stop him.

  • Posts: 0 brooks

    @ Manny – don’t you remember reading about the 93 Phils or listening to the stories from LJ about how spent all the pitchers were? If you’re out of gas and there is nothing left – not much you can do.

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