A couple of weeks ago, Dontrelle Willis left the Orioles. He says he did so with permission. The Orioles said he was AWOL. The team put him on the restricted list. Willis filed a grievance and his agent went off on the Orioles. That relationship looked to be over.
But cooler heads have prevailed: Jerry Crasnick reports that Willis has dropped his grievance and will rejoin the team.
The apparent reason: the Orioles are going to let him try starting. Word at the time was that Willis left the team for the precise reason that he wanted to start, not be a relief pitcher. Never mind that most people figure that the only shot Willis has of keeping a job in baseball now is as a lefty specialist.
So, peace in our time. I suspect that Willis is going to regret getting what he asked for, but at least everyone has stopped bickering.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.