D-saster

by billfer on June 9, 2008 · 83 comments

in 2008 Season,Pitching

Dontrelle Willis’s latest start resulted in more walks than outs. Charged with 8 runs he lasted only 1.1 innings and was done in by 5 walks and 2 homers. All the damage was self inflicted and thus ended the 2 game winning streak.

The Tigers hands are tied with Willis unless he agrees to go on a minor league assignment (and I’m not even sure of the roster legalities of that). He’s shown flashes of control amidst a consistent struggle with the strike zone since donning the English D.

Willis stood up in front of reporters and accepted responsibility and said all the right things. He gets credit for that. But it doesn’t help the team.

Does he stay in the rotation? It’s muddy at best right now. When Jim Leyland was questioned about Willis in the post game he simply spoke of Dontrelle’s struggles tonight and refused to answer any inquiries after issuing a terse statement. There was no talk of Willis and his status in the rotation. In other words, Leyland doesn’t seem to know any better than we do right now about D-Train’s immediate future.

Willis is too important to flounder at the big league level. If a minor league assignment is a possibility it’s probably best for all parties involved. As for back-filling? I’d guess Fossum joins the rotation and Lopez returns from bereavement leave.

 
 

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Eddie June 9, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Roster legalities as far as I can understand:

Dontrelle Willis has all three options remaining, but as a 5 year player he must accept assignment to the minor leagues. He does not have to clear waivers, which is a moot point because nobody would claim him.

The real problem is that Fossum, Lambert, and Vasquez are the only options who could be expected to keep an ERA under 12 short of bringing Porcello upon this sinking ship.

Joey the K in Portland OR June 9, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Watching this brought the question to mind, At what point does a professional player say ok I suck, I don’t have it anymore, I am hurting the team and I don’t belong here.

I mean I don’t want quitters on the team, but there has to be a breaking point. We’ve seen a couple times this season with closers taking themselves out of that spot because they didn’t feel they had what it took to do the job. Obviously Dontrelle is in a different spot than that, but wow he is not even a serviceable #5 right now. Its pretty sad cuz this guy was great and so much fun to watch his first couple years. Maybe he needs some pinch hits and a couple triples to get him going.

Mike R June 10, 2008 at 12:40 am

Ugh. The mere mention of Porcello coming up makes my stomach turn. Absolutely sickening.

Scratch that — the Tigers recent past of being absolutely dumb in handling prospects makes my stomach turn when the discussion turns to Porcello.

Chris June 10, 2008 at 12:53 am

Porcello isn’t coming up in ’08. There’s nothing to gain by doing so.

Chris June 10, 2008 at 1:05 am

The D-Train got D-railed in D-troit, and now it’s time to D-mote him to D-Minors

Michael M. June 10, 2008 at 1:44 am

NO way they bring up Porcello. He has shown he is no where near ready to face major league hitters, or give the team 6-7 innings a start. The Tigers have no need for him, when they have other alternatives. Of course, none of the other alternatives are great, but they give you a chance with some control…which Willis can not. I think he would accept an assignment to Toledo.

Steve in Kzoo June 10, 2008 at 3:28 am

Well as it is right now I dont want Porcello up but at this time its so bad that he might have too. But for now I think Fossum still has some stuff left to give us some good innings and some wins. If not Fossum how about Miner again. He has been pitching good if we stretch him out next couple of days we can bring him in as the new #5. Or maybe Vasquez comes up or Tata or Bonine?

billfer June 10, 2008 at 5:24 am

Tata isn’t a possibility. He’s walked 14 in 11 innings while pitching in A ball and the Tigers are passing him through waivers to remove him from the 40 man roster.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080610/SPORTS02/80610015/1050/rss15

As for Porcello, he’s doing okay as a 19 year old in high A, but no he is not ready. Reports I’ve read have his pitches major league ready, but he’s still working on things and building arm strength.

jason June 10, 2008 at 6:50 am

How can you NOT put Willis on the DL with a “dead arm” or anything else you could think of.

Kathy June 10, 2008 at 9:05 am

I also listened to the interview, but agree with someone else who said Dontrelle has issues only Dr. Phil can solve. He was obviously uncomfortable during the interview, but I still heard things that make me think he some “issues” to work out.

Blake June 10, 2008 at 9:06 am

Yeah, hopefully they guy accepts a Minor League assignment. Throwing him on the DL with anything probably doesn’t help him, at least I wouldn’t think it would. If he’s healthy he needs to almost re-learn the art of pitching. He’s clearly nowhere close to getting things back on track. He won’t be able to figure it out in the big leagues so let’s see him head to Lakeland (far from MI) and try to get it figured out.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 9:44 am

An optimistic way of looking at things is that Bonderman was replaced before he even went down, by Galarraga. Seen that way, replacing the already iffy Willis seems a little less daunting.

I think Robertson and Rogers are safe now.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 9:47 am

Make Freddy Dolsi a starter. He’s gone 3, so what’s another 2?

Just kidding. I think.

Chris June 10, 2008 at 10:08 am

Tigers should give Willis at least one more start in order to see if he can’t find his control, but they should have his next game away form Detroit. That would mean skipping this weekends game against LA. I don’t know who they would substitute for Willis in that game.

If Willis does falter in his next start, they should try to get him to agree to pitch in Toledo in order to work things out. With Zumaya and Rodney coming back, the Tigers could use Zach Miner as Willis’ replacement for that 5th starter in the rotation.

scotsw June 10, 2008 at 10:13 am

I was at the game last night, and Willis was worse than awful. He looks hyper and totally uncomfortable on the mound. He jumps around like a cat on a hot tin roof out there. The contrast with the cool customer Bautista, who followed him, was pretty stark. This isn’t about his knee — it’s about his head.

Yes, he needs some minor-league brain rehab. I think he still has all sorts of talent locked up in that arm, but he doesn’t trust himself, and he doesn’t seem focused.

Frankly, he looked panicked out there.

ron June 10, 2008 at 10:34 am

He looks out of shape, too.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 10:46 am

It was Willis’s first real start, and at home, as opposed to the provisional one against and in Oakland. No matter how nervous and bad he looked, I bet he starts again 5 games on.

Maybe he wasn’t rushed back at all. Maybe the Tigers feel if he’s going to get better, he has to – one way or the other – get better in Detroit, not Toledo. And maybe they’re not wrong.

Realistically, the highest price of another 20 starts by Willis might be 8 more losses, given a 40% chance of winning any of them to begin with. Last place instead of 4th place. Whatever. And maybe he starts to get it together somewhere down the line, in 2008 rather than 2009.

Optimism by way of pessimism.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 10:50 am

First real start since the injury, I mean.

Chris June 10, 2008 at 10:57 am

The problem isn’t so much that Willis starts = instant losses. That the team can afford given the season is such a lost cause. The problem, as displayed yesterday, is the tremendous amount of stress this can do to a bullpen if he struggles so much. If that’s what we continue to get from him, then there is no way this team is going to be able to afford having him out there. Losses every 5th game mean much less than massive bullpen drawdown every 5th game.

cib June 10, 2008 at 11:21 am

OK gang, here I am, I’ve still got no cable at home so I could not comment when I got in last night. Maybe this should be posted in the main game thread but whatever.

I know there’s no crying in baseball but last night was pretty close. I mean, maybe it’s the mom in me, but seeing a guy who is what, 27 years old walking to the dugout after that debacle, with the boos, with the realization that he might not be able to pitch anymore, jeez, aside from what it’s doing to the team, this is a person, he seems like a kind person, somebody’s kid, and he’s washed up at 27? In front of 20+ thousand people or however many showed up last night? It’s tragic, that’s all.

During the game I gave my mom a call to see what the weather was like near her house and she was watching the game (she’s more of a football and basketball fan) and even she had the insight to comment as follows: “What’s going on? Do you think they wish they had some of those younger guys back?”

Left when the storm hit and went over to the Park Bar for a Stroh’s and a good sandwich (plug!!) – when the rain let up we decided to try to get to the car before it started again, just too depressed to go back.

I’m not sure what to say anymore. A friend of mine was saying this morning that each trade in the off season individually looked so good!! The problem I guess is that together, not so much.

All that being said, if the weather’s nice on Thursday I will probably trudge over to see the White Sox.

tiff June 10, 2008 at 12:00 pm

cib, I’ll be at the game thursday afternoon with a friend. I’ll give you a call.

Sucker for torture, I guess.

Andre June 10, 2008 at 12:08 pm

@ cib

it definitely sucks that the fans were booing him. there are times in sports when booing a guy seems appropriate, i can’t say this was one of them. frankly i’m surprised that fans were invested enough emotionally at this point to muster up boos. in anycase, they were misguided.

D-Willis isn’t a cocky pre-madonna, he seems like a genuine team-kind-of-guy. i’m just as unhappy with his performances as anyone, but the fact is that he’s trying and he’s coming off an injury.

if you want to boo somebody, boo the front office for some questionable handling of contracts and players or boo the offense for consistently underachieving. Leyland has taken some flak over line-up choices, fielding positions and line-up orders and i’ll admit to being truly mystified at some of them.

at the end of the day though, it shouldn’t matter what the line-ups are or how many errors Guillen is making at first, third or wherever they put him (i know…i’ve totally dogged him for his defense in the past). this offense doesn’t score on a regular basis and the amount of times they’ve been blanked is beyond comprehension.

i honestly feel sorry for Leyland at this point, he should resign…for his own good because to be honest the team doesn’t seem to care. its not his fault at this point and, if i wasn’t sure it will happen a couple more times, i would say that if i hear him say how he doesn’t understand how they could be held scoreless again i’d go nuts.

i’ve never been more excited about a team coming into a season and been so phenomenally disappointed by it. at least when the Wings don’t live up to expectations its after a satisfying season topping the standings (they won the Cup, so we have that going for us…which is nice).

i have nothing left to say…(insert confused Leyland quote here).

Matt June 10, 2008 at 12:16 pm

My Dad seems to think there may be a drug problem or SOMETHING that isn’t baseball related. I don’t care what anyone says, this season is lost, if Dontrelle has to get sent down or take some time off to see a therapist (ala Zach Grienke) to get back on track than that’s what should happen. Sending him out there every fifth day to walk 100 guys and get destroyed is going to do nothing other than hurt his confidence and ruin his career.

Please for the love of Allah, DONT bring up Porcello.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 12:24 pm

That’s a sad story, cib.

If Willis gets his next start, it would be against the Dodgers, who he pitched “not too badly” against twice in 2007. Then again, he also struck out 8 and walked none in a hard-luck loss to the Indians in 2007.

T Smith June 10, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Matt:

No worries. Willis will not go out there again in five days. The Tigers were just one-and-a-half-starts late at coming to that decision.

They will not bring up Porcello.

I’d start Miner. That’s probably the role he’d excel at the best, given his ability and talent. He’s not worth a lick in high pressure, 8th-inning situations, but he’s demonstrated that he can pitch pretty good out of the gate with a clean slate. As a fifth starter.

Matt June 10, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Miner would be a good spot start choice, though I was hoping he’d get DFA’d (he’s out of options, isn’t he?) when Zumaya and Rodney came back.

Eddie June 10, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Matt, does Jordan Tata have a drug problem too then?

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm

“Sending him out there every fifth day to walk 100 guys and get destroyed is going to do nothing other than hurt his confidence and ruin his career.”

I don’t know. Getting sent to the minors can’t do much for his confidence, either. He’s not a 20 year-old prospect. He’s done this before. So how much do you need to coddle his confidence? He’ll gain confidence by getting over the hump that first time, and not before. Denying him the opportunity isn’t going to help, and what does an 11-under team have to lose? Unless he really is a head case or something is really wrong physically.

I’m with Andre about the booing, though. Not sure how that helps your team.

The score I read was 8-2. Not 8-6 or 8-7. Bautista let in a few runs. The clutch team of Thames, Ordonez, and Cabrera was 0 for 5 with 2 on. Willis is the poster child for the loss, but they could have used him as a pinch hitter.

Andre June 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm

eddie,

of course not, Tata is white, clearly his problems have to be more complicated than just drugs.

T Smith June 10, 2008 at 1:21 pm

By the way:

The whole Willis debacle completely shifts the spot light away Leyland’s mismangement at putting Thames in the three hole. You got Guillen, arguably the teams hottest and most consistant hitter right now, stuck in the six hole getting hit after hit with nobody on. On the flip side, you have Renteria and Polonaco stranded on the bases night after night.

I’m not condoning the RISP powerhouse that-hasn’t been in Ordonez/Cabrera — just don’t think Thames should be in the three hole when Guillen is producing like he has been.

Chris in Dallas June 10, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Last night’s game made my living room resemble a vomitorium. Thanks, D-Train. Seriously, though, what do you do? Chris Lambert has been having a decent year at Toledo. He might actually be able to throw 5 innings. Do you roll the dice with Fossum? Here’s an idea: why not put Jurrjens in the rotation? Oh, right. I guess Andrew Miller would be a better option.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 1:28 pm

T Smith

In the 3 hole:

Thames .280 3 HR 5 RBI 1.080 OPS
Guillen .247 0 HR 12 RBI .639 OPS

Might not include last night’s game, though.

I keep sending Jim Leyland email after email about batting Granderson 3rd and Guillen leadoff, but he hasn’t even opened them.

Chris in Dallas June 10, 2008 at 1:30 pm

re: booing Dontrelle. My opinion is thus: they were booing the performance, not the man. I’m pretty sure any rational thinking human knows that Willis is an all around good guy and really gives a crap about his performance. On the other hand after the abortion he put up there last night, it had to be hard to not voice one’s displeasure.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Chris, the Marlins have let it be known that they’d be willing to part with Miller. For Cabrera.

Hmmm….

Mark in Chicago June 10, 2008 at 1:36 pm

I think you got it, Chris. Fans were unhappy with D-Train’s outing, but they know he’s trying out there. I feel bad for Dontrelle because I want him to succeed. Not just because he’s on the Tigers, but because he so clearly loves playing the game. He’s like a ten year old out there, and I like that enthusiasm he brings.

I really hope he gets straightened out.

Mark in Chicago June 10, 2008 at 1:37 pm

Sean, would the Marlins be willing to take back Willis? They need pitching…

Maybe for Mike Rabelo.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 1:40 pm

I’ll check with my Florida contacts, Mark. But I thought you said they needed pitching?

It’s hard to say this and be taken seriously, but I honestly do wish the Tigers would have held on to Rabelo and sent – by force, if necessary – Brandon Inge to Florida in that deal. Really. No joke.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Even if you’re booing the performance and not the man, I think you need to consider the man. Boos should be reserved for real turds. Not a guy who’s trying, failing badly, and as aware as anyone else of the disaster.

Not that he’s a real turd, but was anyone booing Bautista?

Mark in Chicago June 10, 2008 at 1:46 pm

I hear what you’re saying with that Inge instead of Rabelo angle, but I think Florida’s plan was to get as cheap as possible for the new stadium. I agree with your gut feeling that they should have held on to Rabelo, though. Catchers are hard to find, and Rabelo had proven himself (I thought) to be a capable backup.

The other guy we should have kept was de la Cruz.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for mentioning de la Cruz. That gives me something to check out.

Yes, Rabelo was a capable backup last year. You understand my point exactly.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Mark, I see Eulogio is doing quite well with Albuquerque.

I think he was part of an odd name purge. Someone decided it just wasn’t right to have a Jair, a Gorkys, a Burke, a Dallas, and on top of that a Eulogio. I have to agree, it is quite unseemly. An organization has to have some standards.

Chris in Dallas June 10, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I always liked Rabelo. It was fun to see how many announcers league-wide would pronounce his name “Ray-blow”. The guy I miss most in that deal may be Trahern. He seemed like he’d end up being a capable back of the rotation guy. Plus, I like guys named Dallas.

Mark in Chicago June 10, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Good point, Sean. This really was the offseaon purging of the funny name club. We still have a Deik and a Wilkin, though, so there’s work to be done.

Great to DLC lighting it up in the minors . Maybe they saw something there they didn’t like in his mental makeup, although they didn’t seem to have any problems putting Cruceta in tight spots with 5 innings of big league experience.

I say, the inconsistency of the decisions of this organization are frustrating.

Bottom line, I felt at the time like we gave up just a bit too much for Cabrera and Willis, not because Trahen or Badenhop would be a star, but because they were decent-quality prospects who could have helped.

T Smith June 10, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Interest line on Thames vs. Guillen in the 3 hole. Only thing I can add is the Guillen line is probably more accurate, based on a much larger sample — vs. the Thames line, which doesn’t include last night. 3 hrs, though isn’t too shabby. But only 5 RBI. Methinks those are all solo shots?

I’m at a loss. When Thames produces the sacks are empty; when he doesn’t the sacks are juiced.

Chris in Dallas June 10, 2008 at 2:09 pm

I don’t know. An organization that has employed fellows named Wockenfuss, Barbaro and Rusty Kuntz doesn’t seem to be averse to funny names…

Mark in Chicago June 10, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Incidentally, knowing this organization, here is my prediction for how they handle the Dontrelle situation.

He gets 2, maybe 3 more starts to demonstrate a consistent ability to throw strikes. When he cannot, a move to Toledo is somehow worked out so he can fix his head and mechanics at AAA.

Rick Porcello is called up to take his place in the rotation.

I say this only because the org. is clearly not afraid to fast-track prospects (Miller, Maybin) if they think they can help or provide a spark, and they will be hoping the jewel of the system can do both. Also, they are desperate.

Chris in Dallas June 10, 2008 at 2:13 pm

I won’t even pretend to know why this season has gone the way it has for this team. There seems to be 347 factors working against them at the same time. They’re slow. Defensively challenged. Suspect bullpen. Injuries to key guys. Key guys past their primes. Slow starts from big stars. Bad luck. Schizophrenic manager. No top prospects. I think that’s just too many things to overcome. I don’t advocate blowing up the roster, but they definitely need to retool it a bit in the coming months.

billfer June 10, 2008 at 2:17 pm

T Smith – I think you’re letting one game color your opinion of Thames too much. With men on this year he has a 984 OPS with 5 homers. With the bases empty it is 625 with 1 homer.

Andre June 10, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Chris,

i do think that there’s a difference between booing a performance vs. a person…however it doesn’t make sense to do it in Willis’ case. he’s the kind of player that doesn’t need to be told when he’s struggling and moreover is such a team guy that if anything its counter productive to boo him. the fact that he stayed through a delay and the end of the game to answer questions is a credit to him and should further shame the fans that booed him.

i whole-heatedly believe that he needs more time in the minors, but don’t boo him, Leyland is the guy putting him out there. i don’t even know if i would boo Leyland, he has to try and see if Willis is ready.

the boos, and again i’m surprised to find out there’s any emotion left at all, should be directed towards the offense if they’re to be directed at anyone. personally i can’t single any one guy out as being flagrantly more under performing than the next guy, so what do you do, boo everyone? that doesn’t seem like an answer. then again nothing does at this point except the dreaded “there’s always next year” mentality. too bad its looking like that’s the case this early.

Mark in Chicago June 10, 2008 at 2:24 pm

billfer, you’re funny. these conversations go on here all day long with nary a word from you. then suddenly, a message just to let us know that someone is watching over us.

creepy ;-)

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Yes, I noticed early that Thames was doing unusually well with men on versus bases empty. You could almost predict his box score line based on that of the 2-3 guys ahead of him. Not last night, I guess.

Chris in Dallas June 10, 2008 at 2:28 pm

billfer = Big Brother. I try not to make any dumb comments for fear of being smited. (smote? smitten?)

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Yeah, Mark. I’d be careful if I were you. I was scanning my computer at home for viruses and such last night, and I ran across a bunch of files named “billfer.exe.” Good thing I have a Mac.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Don’t be afraid of being smitten with Billfer, Chris. I’m pretty sure he’s straight.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 2:38 pm

I hole-heartedly believe in this Tigers team.

Mark in Chicago June 10, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I think we’re all a little smitten with billfer.

Mark in Chicago June 10, 2008 at 2:42 pm

…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Chris, what you’re missing about those old Tiger names like Rusty Kuntz is that they had humor potential. The new crop – nothing. Take de la Cruz. Eulogio? That’s like a eulogy. What a downer. We need happy names. Felix Celebrado, Herb Smiley, Gil Pennant, that sort of thing.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 2:46 pm

It’s true. He’s our hero. But can he lead us to a pennant? To be honest, this is my third season with him, and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t starting to tune him out.

If only he smoked. I could get behind a skipper who smokes.

Joel in Seattle June 10, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Mike McClary compared Dontrelle to Rick Ankiel…

Why don’t we just cut to the part where Dontrelle plays LF and starts bombing HRs?

He’s a lefty, he has hit for decent average and great power as a pitcher. His OPS in 2007 was .856 (Inge’s was .688 that year). Small sample size, I know, but he’s got the potential.

Anyway, the dude’s under contract whether we like it or not. While I’m only half serious, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think he could be a better hitter than pitcher at this point.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 2:51 pm

I agree with Mark’s prediction regarding Willis. It would be true to 2008 form.

They trotted out Sheffield game after game, to the detriment of the team. I’ve decided to be an optimist on Willis, having been quick to give up on other things (Guillen at 3B, Bautista, Sheffield as mentioned). Or sudden, as with Renteria.

Scott June 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm

If I’m the Tigggggggers I give D-Train one more start. If it’s anything close to what we saw last night, I ask him to accept an assignment to Toledo and I leave him there until he’s able to consistently find the strike zone. The Majors isn’t the place to work things out.

I think Miner, Miner-49er is our best option. And anyone that would want to bring up Porcello at this point is out of their minds. He’s 19 and doing OK … I repeat OK … at Lakeland. I don’t want to see him until AT LEAST the end of 2009.

Joel in Seattle June 10, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Oh, but let’s skip the whole “busted for steroids” part of the Rick Ankiel Experience. That part sucks.

Dave BW June 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm

“does Jordan Tata have a drug problem too then?”

He has a “not being a good pitcher” problem.

Anyway, I think they should just leave Willis in the rotation. What do they have to lose at this point? He’s obviously capable of being an above average starter, and this seems as good a place and time as any to let him try to work out whatever issues are bedeviling him. It’s not like we’ve got any particularly compelling alternatives, anyway.

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Speaking of de la Cruz, I’m pretty sure I remember quite a burst of excitement over his first performances with the Tigers. Maybe I’m confusing him with someone else, although I know the same thing happened with Miller and Jurjjens.

The Tigers seem to have had more pitching than they knew what to do with. That could be like having credit cards thrown at you. Pretty soon you’re in debt.

Mark in Chicago June 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Agree, Scott. It’s a little foolish and perhaps counterproductive to bring up Porcello at this point. I am not advocating or suggesting it’s a good idea, just pointing out that the Tigers have been aggressive with guys they believe are “special” talents and he fits the bill.

Thus, the prediction. I’m probably way off base but I think it fits the personality of the organization to pull something like that.

Andre June 10, 2008 at 3:08 pm

joel,

it sucks if you skip the part where they were prescribed by a physician as part of a rehab course and not disciplined in the following MLB investigation.

Joel in Seattle June 10, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Andre:

Yeah, but it’s better to leave it out entirely, because idiots like me forget details like that… :(

Dave BW June 10, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Hey cib! How are you liking our fantastic Metro Detroit utility companies?

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Joel in Seattle

I’m not retracting my don’t give up on Willis statements, but I would in fact not mind seeing something bold and very strange for the modern game like trying him as a pinch hitter or even giving him a shot in LF. Does he bat left? Isn’t throwing left supposed to confer some advantage in LF? As long as he doesn’t take the job away from our everyday LF Marcus, I mean Carlos, I mean Gary, I mean Clete, I mean Ryan.

Didn’t they (they being the Yankees) give a guy named George a shot in the outfield?

Mike in DC June 10, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I’m not sure what’s wrong with Dontrelle Willis, but I do know that a performance like last night’s simply can’t happen. Call it mental, physical or all of the above – you can’t throw 60% balls in a baseball game, regardless of the level. It’s not just that he walked more than he got out, it was how he walked them. In most cases they didn’t have a chance to swing (I heard D-Train say he was trying to be too fine at times…). First inning: 13 pitches/11 balls/3 batters/3 runs/1 bomb.

There’s only one solution: run him out there again in 5 days with the shortest leash known to man. And if that doesn’t work, run him out there again. 3 straight appearances where a MLB pitcher can’t throw strikes is a large enough sampling to warrant a demotion/dismissal/departure.

Andre June 10, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Joel,

no biggie, if anything its too bad he plays for the Cardinals cause i like his story :)

Dan June 10, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Should Willis pull a Ankiel?? Check out my thoughts:

http://ordosopinion.blogspot.com/2008/06/d-train-has-d-railed.html

Jim in Clio June 10, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Willis’ mechanics make it hard for any coach to correct any problems he may have, and without his awkward mechanics I doubt Willis is as successful in previous years. It really is a catch 22 situation and I’m surprised Dombrowski pulled the trigger on the Cabrera/Willis deal with this in mind.

Matt in Toledo June 10, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Dan – That approach (see what I think!) would only be slightly more annoying if we had to sit through a commercial before landing at your site.

As for the idea of re-defining Willis as an outfielder, it’s lunacy. Ankiel wasn’t in the middle of a $27M contract. In fact, The truth is people are way too quick to write pitchers off as finished.

People have done it with Buehrle, Clemens, Contreras, Mussina, just about every pitcher the Cardinals have picked up the last couple years, and countless more.

Willis undoubtedly has some tough times ahead of him as he tries to find some control again. But the way to solve the problem isn’t going to be to put on his batting gloves.

Chris in Dallas June 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm

I think Dombrowski pulled the trigger on the Cabrera/Willis deal because the Marlins said “yes, you can have Cabrera, but you HAVE to take this trainwreck as well. Have fun with all that.” Kinda like they did with adding Lowell on to the Beckett deal with Boston. Of course that worked out for Boston, but I digress. Anyway, I imagine that D-Train will get another start no matter what we think. It’s nearly impossible for him to be *that* bad two times in a row.

T Smith June 10, 2008 at 4:08 pm

“…I hole-heartedly believe in this Tigers team….”

Now that’s just downright funny. Classic.

T Smith June 10, 2008 at 4:11 pm

I have no problem with taking D-Train with Cabrera… not sure it went down like the Marlins were forcing us to take him at part of the deal. What I have a problem with is inking D-Train to a fat three year deal before he even won a game for the organization. Not too saavy.

Chris in Dallas June 10, 2008 at 4:19 pm

I don’t regret anything about the Florida deal because a) I had nothing to do with it and b) it’s only about 10 weeks into it. A lot can and probably will change. Interesting note from Buster Olney, though (today in an ESPN chat):

“Buster Olney: Manuel — someone in the Tigers’ organization said this recently, in private — soon, Miguel Cabrera must decide whether he wants to have an OK career in the big leagues, or if he cares enough to take care of himself and give himself a chance to be an all-time great. If he doesn’t improve his conditioning, the deal will be viewed as a monumental bust for the Tigers, in the long run.”

Sean C. in Illinois June 10, 2008 at 4:19 pm

T Smith

Thank you.

If there’s one good thing about that contract, it’s this: If there’s one guy who wants to earn that money, it is Dontrelle Willis.

Of course, it’s his moiney to earn and no one else’s. But you know what I mean.

Joel in Seattle June 10, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Matt:

I agree, that’s why I was only half-serious. Of course he needs to get some time to work things out as a pitcher. A week or two should be more than adequate. ;)

It is interesting, however, that he was considered one of the better hitting pitchers in the league and hits left-handed. Obviously, they’re interested in seeing him succeed as a pitcher, but if there’s some reason he can’t, I’d rather see him try out hitting than end up on the scrap heap.

Matt in Toledo June 10, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Oh, sorry about that Joel. I was replying to the linked article that mentioned the same idea.

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