New York Yankees Should Look into Dontrelle Willis Trade

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2011

Dontrelle Willis in better times.
Dontrelle Willis in better times.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Once upon a time, Dontrelle Willis was one of the rising stars in baseball.

With his affable personality, infectious smile, bizarre mechanics, "Rockette-eqsue" leg kick and nasty stuff, Willis was beloved by fans of the Florida Marlins and left opposing fans in awe.

After winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2003 and playing in two All-Star Games (2003 and 2005), Willis has had—to say the least—issues.

Since being traded from the Florida Marlins to the Detroit Tigers in the same deal that bought first baseman Miguel Cabrera to Detroit, Willis has been dreadful.

In 30 games with the Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks, Willis is 3-9 with a 6.86 ERA, 2.11 WHIP, 119 walks and 82 strikeouts.

OK, perhaps dreadful was not the right word. Willis has been downright embarrassing.

After reading that, you may be wondering if I have lost my mind.

Why would a sane person think acquiring this guy is a wise move?

Because the Yankees simply have nothing to lose.

In 11 starts for the Cincinnati Reds' Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats, Willis seems to have gotten himself back on track: 4-2 with a 2.51 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 19 walks and 54 strikeouts over 61 innings pitched.

Even with the issues the Reds have had in their starting rotation this season, Willis has yet to see any time with the big club.

Which makes you think that Reds GM Walt Jocketty would be open to dealing the 29-year-old lefty, and that the cost would be fairly negligible.

If Willis could be acquired for little more then a mid-level prospect, it would behoove Brian Cashman to take a chance on him. If Brian Gordon is worthy of an opportunity to start for the Yankees, surely the same could be said for someone with prior success in the majors.

The subways that are visible passing by the confines of Yankee Stadium are old and generally overcrowded. It couldn't hurt to give a new "D-Train" a few trial runs to see if there is an improvement in service.