UPDATE: Dontrelle Willis has announced his retirement

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UPDATE: The Orioles have just announced Dontrelle Willis’ retirement.

The D-Train finally accepted what we all knew to be true: his time as an effective ballplayer had passed.  But it was a good run for a while. For his career, Willis finishes with a career 72-59 record and a 4.17 ERA in 1221 and two-thirds innings.  His first four years in the majors, however, were pretty nice. From 2003 through 2006, Willis was 58-39 with a 3.44 ERA.

While we all thought that was just a tease of good things left to come, it turned out to be the high water mark.  Which is sad given how enjoyable it was to watch Willis in his prime, but sometimes that’s how it goes.

4:20PM: Dontrelle Willis continues to toil unsuccessfully in the Orioles’ system, but that time may be ending. Roch Kubatko tweets that Willis will not make his next start and is considering retirement.

It’s been a looong time since Willis was effective. Setting aside his train wreck minor league season this year — 8.53 ERA —  he posted a 5.00 ERA and 57/37 K/BB ratio in 76 innings for the Reds last season. Over the past five seasons he has a 5.65 ERA in 404 innings.

Nothing personal, but Willis is deader than vaudeville at this point, and retirement seems like a pretty decent option.

53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro homers in independent league ball

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It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.

If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.

Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.

Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.