The Philadelphia Phillies have signed Dontrelle Willis! Yep, the Dontrelle Willis with the wild pitching motion, who was also MLB’s “it” guy for a few years, is now in Philadelphia, and guess what? I love the move. It looks like the D-Train has landed in a spot where he may be able to succeed the most. His career as a starting pitcher is most likely over, but that does not mean he’s finished as a major leaguer. Willis is still consistent against left-handed batters and could extend his career by many years by becoming a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen, which appears to be his role with Philadelphia.
Willis has been very impressive against left-handed batters recently, allowing an average of .178 to lefties since 2010. His wild delivery may not work as well against right-handed batters as it use to, but it is clear there is a future for him with this club. Add in the fact that childhood friend Jimmy Rollins is back with Philadelphia, and it seems as though there was no need for D-Train to look anywhere else.
From an outsider’s perspective, this may seem like a small move that won’t matter much. But left-handed stoppers are hard to find, and having D-Train in the pen with Antonio Bastardo gives the Phillies two strong lefty situational pieces to go to. Also, Willis has been known to have a decent swing at the plate, so in some instances (most likely long extra-inning games) he could be an extra bat off the bench.
This is a little move that could pay off in a big way for the Phillies, and if D-Train shows any of the magic from his early years in his new role, then we have an unexpected gift to cheer for.