Dontrelle Willis hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2006, but Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the 29-year-old left-hander will make his latest comeback attempt with the Reds after agreeing to a minor-league contract today.
Willis was let go by the Tigers, Diamondbacks, and Giants last season while posting a 5.62 ERA with more walks (56) than strikeouts (47) in 65.2 innings, and dating back to 2007 he’s 13-24 with a 5.81 ERA and 228/206 K/BB ratio in 329 total innings.
Willis’ raw stuff is perhaps still good enough to get big-league hitters out even through his velocity has definitely declined compared to his 2003-2005 peak, but the quality of his stuff will remain a moot point as long as he can’t consistently throw the ball over the plate.
He’s someone to root for, but Willis is facing some awfully long odds at this stage.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.