Dontrelle Willis needed a fresh start, and the Arizona Diamondbacks were desperate for some starting pitching help, so just days after the Detroit Tigers designated Willis for assignment (giving them just ten days to trade or release him) he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for relief pitcher Billy Buckner. The Tigers are on the hook for his 2010 12 million dollar salary, minus the 400 thousand dollars of his prorated minimum salary for the current year. For those keeping score at home the Tigers are paying nearly 22 million dollars for Willis and Pitcher Nate Robertson to play for other teams.
While 22 million dollars seems like at lot of money to pay players to play for other team (and really it is) we have to give a little credit to Tigers General Manger Dave Dombrowski for this one. This is the second time he has fleeced the D Backs to take a pitcher off his hands that was all but used up. In the off season he swung a three team deal that landed him SP Max Scherzer and prospect pitcher Daniel Schlereth for the D-Backs. In return they got SP Edwin Jackson from the Tigers, and Ian Kennedy from the New York Yankees.
While Scherzer has struggled a bit in 2010, including a demotion to Triple A Toledo, he returned to the big club on Sunday and pitched a gem striking out 14. Overall Scherzer and Jackson’s record are pretty similar; Scherzer is 2-4 with a 6.42 ERA while Jackson is 3-6 with a 6.02 ERA. At this point in the game we have to say that Scherzer has much more upside.
The simple fact that Dombrowski was able to get anything at all for Willis is simply amazing. Sure Buckner is a relief pitcher with an ERA over 11 and will start his Tigers career at Toledo, but some Tigers fans would have accepted a bag of old baseball for the overpaid and used up Willis. Not to mention that fact that Willis has a anxiety problem that has caused his rapid fall from the once great pitcher he used to be. On the other hand Willis has only had two really great seasons.
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