The Tigers finally decided to part ways with Dontrelle Willis (4.98 ERA) sending him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for relief pitcher Billy Buckner.
Willis was first acquired by the Tigers from the Florida Marlins along with potential MVP Miguel Cabrera in 2008.
From there, the left-handed pitcher took a fall from grace.
Willis, a former NL Rookie of the Year and All-Star, drifted in and out of AAA Toledo and chronically suffered from anxiety issues.
You can’t blame the Tigers for being impatient. They gave him time to improve in the minors, they chose him over Nate Robertson and they even gave him vacation time to deal with his mental angst.
It was time for a change.
A lot of Tigers fans are now concerned with the strength of the starting pitching, but they shouldn’t be. The rotation is a lot more consistent without Willis.
The Tigers will still be able to work with the solid talent they possess in Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Jeremy Bonderman and Rick Porcello. In addition, many fans forget Armando Galarraga was recently brought up from the farm and will be able to provide consistent pitching as well.
Not only that, but Billy Buckner isn’t too bad either. His record (0-3) and ERA (11.08) this season doesn’t show his potential with the organization, but don’t doubt Jim Leyand’s ability to transform a second-rate pitcher into a quality contributor.
Don’t forget how much Fernando Rodney progressed before he was sent to the Angels.
All in all, Tigers fans, be glad Detroit was able to get something for Willis other than a bill for $12 million and an empty spot in the rotation.