Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tigers going with Willis as fifth starter; Vindication or bust?

The Detroit Tigers have traded Nate Robertson to the Marlins, which allows Dontrelle Willis to return the major leagues. Willis may be one of the worst busts in the history of the MLB, but the Tigers have decided to give him one more shot at vindication.

He currently is making 10 million dollars a year, and he is 1-6 with an 8.34 ERA in 57.2 innings pitched. Reportedly, he has battled an anxiety disorder as well as minor injuries, and his control has suffered due to these factors. In his CY Young years with Florida, he had a three to one strikeout to walk ratio. With Detroit, he has just under double the walks, 63, than strikeouts, 35.

Although he has shown some promise this spring, one must wonder if he can handle the everyday pressure of a full season. He still makes a lot of money, and the Detroit fans aren’t too pleased. If he struggles early, can he survive? Every pitcher has a rough stretch. How can Willis comeback mentally from a low point.

With the trade, there is much pressure on the ex-20 game winner. The Tigers need him to be consistent, even as a fifth starter. If he does well, he can be enough to propel Detroit to the top of the division. If he fails, however, the Tigers may be even worse than having Nate Robertson. Robertson is 51-69 for his career with a 4.92 ERA, but he does have 712 strikeouts to 378 walks.

The trade shows the Tigers are trying, but will it be enough to top the Twins and the White Sox? Only time will tell.

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