Dontrelle Willis has reportedly signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago Cubs. Willis could make the MLB roster if he pitches well. However, at this time, Willis hasn't received an invitation to big-league camp.
Willis made his last MLB apperance in 2011. As a member of the Cincinnati Reds, Willis started 13 games. He had a 1-6 record with a 5.00 ERA. He had nine quality starts. In 2012, Willis pitched for the Baltimore Orioles' Triple-A affiliate. In four appearances, Willis had an 8.53 ERA. At one point, Willis filed a grievance against the organization. He officially retired in July.
The Cubs originally drafted Willis in 2000. In 2002, Willis was traded to the Florida Marlins. While the Cubs received Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca, Willis became one of MLB's biggest stars. In 2003, Willis was honored as the National League Rookie of the Year. In 2005, Willis was the runner-up for the Cy Young Award.
Dontrelle Willis is one of many new pitchers to join the Cubs. Most of them are coming off poor seasons or arm injuries. Edwin Jackson, Scott Baker, Scott Feldman, Carlos Villanueva, Chang-Yong Lim, and Kyuji Fujikawa are some of the newest Cubs. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer wanted to add depth in the starting rotation, bullpen and farm system. The lack of pitching depth was felt after the July trade deadline and Matt Garza's season-ending injury.
Plenty of new faces. But can any of them pitch well? The Cubs seem like they're signing a large amount of pitchers, hoping that one of them can surprise. Does Willis have any future in MLB, even if it's just as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen?
Unless Willis finds his velocity and control, don't count on it.