UPDATE: According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Tigers will acquire right-hander Billy Buckner in return.
And the final piece of the puzzle, Jon Heyman of SI.com says that the Tigers will pay all but the prorated $400K major league minimum to ship Willis to the Diamondbacks.
6:18 PM: Another trade!
According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, the Tigers have traded left-hander Dontrelle Willis to the Diamondbacks, pending a physical. Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com confirms it, so it looks like this one is happening.
Willis, 28, was designated for assignment by the Tigers on Saturday after tallying a 4.98 ERA, 1.78 WHIP and a 33/29 K/BB ratio over his first nine
appearances (eight starts) this season.
As mentioned yesterday, Willis’ agent Matt Sosnick told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that Arizona was one of his client’s preferred destinations. The odds are against him being a productive major league pitcher again, but at least he’ll get his wish.
Willis is under contract for $12 million this season, so the Tigers will likely be responsible for most of his salary. The commissioner’s office will have to approve such a transaction.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.