In what could be one of the more interesting “moves” this offseason, the Cubs have signed LHP Dontrelle Willis to a minor league deal.
July 10, 2011; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Dontrelle Willis (50) throws a pitch during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. The Brewers defeated the Reds 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Willis, who was rookie of the year at 21 years of age in 2003 for the Marlins, is a former Cubs prospect. He was very effective in his early years but hit a snag in the late 2000’s essentially losing control of his delivery, which in itself is unconventional and a little erratic.
This deal doesn’t include an invite to spring training, so it essentially makes it a non-signing. It’s barely news worthy, however it shows the openness the current brass have towards bringing on players with even the most minute potential upside. Frankly, if the price is right, why not? There is very little to lose in this situation, especially for a franchise with deep pockets. Epstein has also expressed his desire to bring on more lefties and this does help accomplish that goal, no matter how minimal Willis’ impact will be.
I wouldn’t expect to hear much about Willis beyond this.