Cubs Sign Dontrelle Willis to a Minor League Deal

According to a report from Jon Heyman, the Cubs signed veteran lefty Dontrelle Willis to a minor league contract. The deal does not include a non-roster invite to big league camp, this is strictly a minor league contract.

Dontrelle Willis turns 31 on January 12 and was originally selected by the Cubs in the eighth round of the 2000 draft.

Dontrelle Willis last pitched in the majors in 2011 for the Cincinnati Reds and was 1-6 in 13 starts with a 5.00 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. Willis spent last season at the Triple-A level in the Orioles system and was 0-3 in four games, one start, with a 8.53 ERA and a 2.21 WHIP. Willis reportedly walked away from the game and retired last year.

Dontrelle Willis was traded to the Marlins along with Jose Cueto, Ryan Jorgensen and Julian Tavarez on March 27, 2002 for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement.

Dontrelle Willis’ Page on Baseball-Reference

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  • J Daniel

    Although Willis looked really good for a couple of years and appeared like it would be a haunting trade, Clement really helped the Cubs. Shows again what many say here, suspects until proven.

    It is amazing though, with the stuff that he had and how he was going, how fast and far he fell.

    • paulcatanese

      I don’t know, IMO it just points out how fine tuned

      a pticher is, one little thing can ruin them.Keep doing that thing and it grows to where its almost impossibel to get it back.

      But he was hot in the beginning of his career.

      • Tony_Hall

        You are right on…but when your wind-up tries to defy all the basic principles of good mechanics, you sure do ask for this to happen to you.

  • GaryLeeT

    Maybe it’s one of those deals where he throws one pitch then retires.

    • Rational Logic


  • TinTin

    Finally for him back!

    • Tin Tin

      *got him

  • jtrain23

    For a few years I thought that the Dontrelle Willis trade would haunt us like the Lou Brock trade. His fall from grace was tremendous and somewhat unseen. It is as if he had the best stuff in the National League and all of the sudden it was all gone. I don’t know what the reasoning is for this deal: whether it is a sign and retire deal or an attempt at redemption. If it is the latter, maybe he has evidence of a revival of his arm. He left the game a year ago a mere shell of his former self, so you would think that a true return would have to mean an increase in his skills of some sort.

  • cubs4ever

    Its amazing he is only 31. I would have guessed he was over 35.

    • jtrain23

      Or 47 like all the other Latino MLB players.

      • RynoTiger

        this 36yo latino Cubs fan is scratching his head and trying to figure out how to take that statement…oh and I really am lie or fake birth certificate

      • John_CC


  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Oh, lord!!

  • John_CC

    Full circle for the D-train!

    Icky bad.

  • Ripsnorter1

    ESPN says this deal does not include an invite to ST.

    Okay, so they want to hire a guy to cover for the Jeff Beliveau loss, and they figure Dontrell Willis is the guy.

    Put this down as another roster blunder.

    • Tony_Hall

      He is not on the 40 man roster….it is a minor league invite to camp basically.

      ZERO Downside moves can’t be a roster blunder.

    • Rich Hood

      You can’t have a roster blunder on the a flyer guy and that is all this is. He is a guy that invite in to have a look he is not even guarenteed a spot in the big camp. To compare to Beliveau is beneath you Rip. Normally you are insightful and knowledgeable with your points of view but this one is apples and oranges. Now if you want to say they should have cleared Rusin instead of Beliveau or something like that I totally understand.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Think like this:

        Beliveau is a AAA LH pitcher. They need AAA LHP on their Iowa Team. But they lost Beliveau, and are short a LH reliever on their AAA Iowa roster. Beliveau is not ML ready, but maybe he could develop, though more likely, he will not become a ML pitcher. But at least he had AAA talent. He could pitch set up for our AAA closer to practice with.

        So now they recruit Willis. Willis has lost both his control and his fastball. He won’t make it even in AAA Iowa. To sign him is a blunder because he will block someone from AA Tennessee from coming up to the next level, and he will blow leads that our closer could have practiced on.

        A similar tale last year was the DJ LeMahieu deal. Suddenly Jed woke up and discovered that we were short backup INF. So he picks Ricky Alvarez in the Rule V draft, claims Jeff Bianchi, Alfredo Amezaga, Adrian Cardenas, and Luis Valbuena. Meanwhile DJ LeMahieu is better than them all.


        • Rich Hood

          OK I see what your saying but don’t agree. Unless Willis is on point I don’t even see him making the AAA roster. His last 5 years are ROUGH. This is just a waiver on a could be.

          I do agree with you on DJ last year though.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Levine says that Michael Bourn may sign a one year deal because he doesn’t like what’s one the table. Now that would work for the Cubs, but I’d expect him to go where there is some offense to support him.

    • Neil

      You should read the interview I transcribed with Theo the other night. Obviously anything can happen but I do not see them signing Bourn … and have not since the rumor first surfaced.

      That is a lot to give up for one-year … not only a pick, which is really a sandwich pick as Epstein pointed out, but they would also be losing the money slotted for that pick.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I do not want Bourn….even for 1 year.

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