It was announced today after a six nothing loss tot he Oakland Athletics that the Detroit Tigers would designate SP Dontrelle Willis for Assignment tomorrow to make room on the roster to recall Max Scherzer from Triple A Toledo. That means, according to baseball rules, the Tigers now have ten days to trade, release, or waive him. Of course no matter what happens teh organization is still on the hook for his 2010 12 million dollar salary.
That may sound like a lot of money, but truth be told paying out 12 million to get rid of this guy is something of a bargain for the Tigers. They traded for him in at the end of 2007 then immediately signed him to a three year 29 million dollar deal to keep him out of arbitration. For their investment in him Willis gave the team a 2-8 record with an 6.86 era. Broken down that is almost 15 million dollars for each of the two wins he earned in a Tigers uniform.
Even though he is just 28, and at one time was a very good pitcher, there is likely to be little interest in him on the trade market. There are rumors that he has a mental illness and has lost whatever it was that helped him be such a great pitcher for the Florida Marlins. Without a doubt this is one of the blackest marks against Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski. This guy seemed like he was finished in Florida, and Dave invested nearly 30 million dollars in him with no tangible result.
This also leaves a hole in the Tigers rotation. They need to find a second and/or third starter and may now be forced to go out and deal for Cliff Lee or possibly even Roy Oswalt. The Tigers have had some success brining in older pitchers like Kenny Rogers, so they may take a chance on him, but Lee seems like the better fit. Of course any trade is going to cost this team prospects, which may hurt the team long term.
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