Pop quiz, hot shot: you have a pitcher who can’t throw strikes and a bullpen that is, by far, the team’s weakest link. What do you do?
If you’re the Arizona Diamondbacks you put that pitcher in that bullpen and hope one of the fundamental laws of the universe (i.e. relief pitchers must throw strikes) is suspended in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
Look, Dontrelle Willis was a great pitcher for a while. He has sadly lost his mojo, however, and despite being given multiple chances, he does not look like he’s going to get it back. This is Major League Baseball. Not a charity ward. If Willis is to be pitching anywhere, he needs to be pitching someplace where he won’t be impacting games that matter.
And yes, even though the Dbacks are out of it, many of their opponents are not, and this grand experiment is simply bad for baseball. DFA him or waive him or do something to him, but by no means should he be pitching in the majors at this moment in time.
The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.
La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.
I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.