Sunday, September 13, 2009

Why don't Tigers admit $29 million error and let Willis go?

        What the Tigers need right now is another dependable starting pitcher. But, in case you haven’t noticed, one name that is never mentioned as Jim Leyland ponders the possibilities with Nate Robertson, Jarrod Washburn, and Armando Galarraga all struggling -- and hurting -- is Dontrelle Willis.
        I don’t think Willis will ever throw another pitch in a Detroit Tigers uniform
        It is time Dave Dombrowski acknowledged his $29 million blunder, swallowed the $12 million remaining on the 27-year-old left hander’s contract for next year, and cut Willis loose.
        The Tigers ate the $14 million left on Gary Sheffield’s contract this spring, and Sheffield was still capable of contributing a whole more than Willis has -- or will.
        What is the point in prolonging this ordeal, bringing Willis to spring training again next year, and pretending he might suddenly find himself?
        Been there, done that.
        In two injury-interrupted seasons with the Tigers, Willis has started just 14 games. He has won one and lost six. His ERA 8.34. He has walked 63 batters in 57 innings. For that, the Tigers have already paid him $17 million.
        How bad does a guy have to pitch before you admit your mistake and move on?
        In a belated rehab stint at Triple-A Toledo this summer Willis was 1-2 with a 4.81 ERA in five starts. I am told he can’t understand why he wasn’t called up to the big leagues on Sept, 1,
        Can you imagine the reaction in the Tigers clubhouse -- and among Tiger fans -- if Leyland sent Willis out to the mound in the thick of this pennant race?
        That would be like conceding a game before it even begins.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, one important point is that insurance covers half his cost if he's on the DL. That's a savings of $7 million. And there's always a chance of a resurgence with someone so young. If he were a jerk about it and a distraction, then that's different. But there's been no reports of that. His last start with Toledo was strong (1 er, 2 bb, 6 K in 6 ip).

September 13, 2009 at 8:39 PM 

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