Credit to Willis: He talked

I’ll probably go through more than a handful of times over the course of a season and point out when someone wasn’t available for comment, or declined to comment, or didn’t make himself available. Rarely do I give the reverse. So especially in this case, as all the criticism is coming down on Dontrelle Willis, I wanted to give him credit. He stayed until after the game and he talked. In fact, he stayed through the rain delay, through all those innings after he was done with one of his worst starts, and then he stayed after the game and talked — to two separate groups of reporters — until every last question had been asked and answered.

I can think of more than one occasion this year where players haven’t stuck around after a loss, or they’ve been short, or they’ve just been a pain. Willis stayed and he talked. He answered every last question. He didn’t pull out any excuses. He didn’t pull out a list of one-word answers to get people away. And he took all the picking apart of one miserable night for him. When you hear people in the media talk about a go-to player, that’s what a go-to player does.

22 Comments

Uh, yea!!! There is something that people aren’t talking about, and I have however since the day they traded for this guy….. Dontrelle Willis hasn’t thrown a game worth talking about for 2 years !!!!! Do you think the Marlins had a hard time letting this guy leave?? They we’re more concerned with that door hitting him on the way out. So Tiger Fans, don’t anticipate much. Don’t get excited if he gets thru 3 innings, unscathed. The guy is simply NOT a good pitcher anymore. NOT JUST LATELY!! It’s “anymore.” The dude sucks.

This trade for Cabrera and Willis will go down as a bigger debacle than the McClain for Coleman, Brinkman and Rodriguez !!!! Problem is this time the Tigers are on the wrong end. They 1/2 way destroyed this team with those 2 trades(Florida and Atlanta).

In the NFL, Bill Parcells is thee most overated of the coaching click. In baseball, Dombrowski’s name should be changed to Dumbrowski. He’s overated and has always been overated!!! Florida in fact, seems to be getting by just fine without him, don’t you think ?

geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez !!!!!! At the time of this trade I stated, “he won’t be in the rotation by July.” And barring a total rebirth, he won’t, so prime another minor leaguer please…. cause thats where its gonna have to come from now, for these Tigers to make a run……

ALso nice to see that they were able to fit the $153 million man into a position he could actually play!!!! Nice homework there Dumbrowski…….

EXCUSE ME ????? “Go to player”???? NO!!! WIllis is no go to player (LOL)…..

For a pitcher to be a “go to player” he need have an ERA in the 3’s at the highest. Just because a guy “talks” after getting his butt kicked(shall we say AGAIN)….. doesn’t elevate him to “go to” status !!!!!

What Willis is to this here team is a bad joke played on it’s fans who subsidize this guy !!!!

Calm down, Mitch. There’s more to being human than excelling at pitching. I think that Jason’s point is that Willis is a good guy.
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Now, whether he will come back and perform well, that is anyone’s guess, but someone who has his attitude should be able to do it. I am rooting for him. You may not be, but there’s no reason to get abusive with the guy.

Thank you Jason beck and steve for not letting me be the only one to see the quality of the person in that clubhouse. Sometimes being a go-to person is more of an asset than an All-Star player. I think Mitch will eat his words and learn not to jump to conclusions if not this season, then next. I stayed in florida for almost ten years. I can tell you that the Marlins are a binge and purge team, they couldn’t afford Willis or Cabrera so the Marlins let them go for less expensive prospects. While Willis is having a rough year, he didn’t walk, how many batters in Miller;s first start? Wasn’t it like 6? What ever teh number, it got him pulled from the game in less than an inning. Not a bad deal on Detroit’s part there. As for florida, the Rays are soing fantastic this year, they deserve it. A very important part of it is Chemistry. Not very many of those players are All-Star quality. What they do have, is a family-like clubhouse. They have fun when they play. It’s hard to have fun when you’re second to only the Yankees in payroll, and 75% of your fans talk to you like a bunch of Steinbrennars that expect no less that a World Series Title. Let’s not forget a huge part of the losses is that the entire offensive lineup seems to have they’re good days and bad days in total synchronization. People need to stop acting like this loss will spark tomorrow’s loss, deciding so by the third inning of tonight’s game. Stop booing and blaming players. Stop bashing Dombroski. There’s a reason he’s the one in the position and occupation he’s in. There’s also a reason we aren’t. Our job is to cheer on the Tigers and enjoy watching baseball. I’ve seen years of booing and jeering at the Rays in they’re hometown, as though everygame is a road trip. They started playhing better when the game started being enjoyable. Save the booing for the other team, which is exactly where it belongs.

Oh yeah, forgive me for not assing this. No matter how well or poorly they perform, the Willis and Cabrera trade will always make more sense than the Barry Zito deal in San Francisco. That was the biggest team screw over in recent MLB History.

I’m rooting for them, but it was easier to root for the hapless Trammel Tigers because we knew they stunk and were trying hard. I have no evidence that the players on this team are slacking, but we have seen some bad baseball and bad managing. I love JL, but come on! Now we’ve got Brandon catching every other day???

With rookies DHing and Carlos playing every position and Thames in then out, there is total chaos. It’s no wonder they aren’t winning. Add to that the pitching troubles and forget it. I’m looking ahead to next year. I’m all for letting Rodriguez go with a heartfelt thanks. But is Brandon the answer?

And as others have said, Granderson in the 9th position???
Sorry, but I think JL has lost it.

glad to hear willis is hanging out to talk. maybe this is a start to a apprenticeship as an announcer, BECAUSE HE CAN’T PITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boy I thought that I was a tough customer. You all are downright unforgiving and might I say mean. Maybe you are right maybe he cannot figure it out anymore. But I think the point of Jason’s entry was that he is a good guy and he is a guy that you should be pulling for to get better because he is going to be with your team for a while. You should be pulliling for him because at least he is a guy who is taking responsibility for a hard time, instead of creeping out into the night.
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You all need to tell youself what I do everyday, it is just baseball, it isn’t life and death. It is supposed to be fun and if you can’t atleast watching the game maybe you shouldn’t???? I would gather that some of youj have many bad days at work yourself?? It isn’t as though the guy isn’t trying. Does that mean I don’t want him to figure it out down in AAA no, but you all need to get a grip? Some of you are becoming Yankees fans, mean and nasty.

Well Nricci,Thats quite a philosophy,What your saying is the players arent winning because they are paid too much money to have fun,and we should cheer up because in your eyes someone made a worse deal.Thanks for the enlightingment

Let’s just get down to brass tacks here. Willis hasn’t been very good for a quite a while – years. Potential, sure – but that doesn’t always equate into performance. Since we are pretty much stuck with him for 3 years, we’ll just have to ride it out.

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With Pudge struggling again offensively, I am all for him and Inge splitting time behind the plate. It is true, their numbers are about the same when up to bat, so we don’t lose much there. Plus, at this point in Pudge’s career, Inge is the better all around athlete.

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As far as MCab. I am actually quite sick of hearing people talk about him. The pressure has to be enourmous to perform. And yes, I know it is his job…but…He’s in a new league, around different team mates, fans that actually care, etc. I really don’t expect much from him the rest of the year, but I truly believe the guy is way too tallented and has a proven track record (unlike Willis) to come back and perform at a high level – the question is just when it will happen.

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Anyway, alike the majority of you I am lifetime Tiger fan, with the tat to prove it. Although, this club is in more of a mess than I have ever seen one in. The sooner we accept what they are and just hope for the best, the sooner we will avoid having a coronary.

I know Willis is a good guy. His reputation in that regard preceeded him. And I saw parts of his comments during the postgame show. He’s keeping a positive attitude, so that’s good.
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My point has been that he needs to work out his pitching problems, because he hasn’t looked good at anytime since arriving here. I can’t much speak to how he looked in Florida last year. I don’t think having him work out those problems at the major league level is wise. That’s all. Last night was a must-win because we need to gain ground over the teams ahead of us in the standings. After this Chicago series, we’re going to waste the rest of the month playing interleague, and you don’t gain much, if any, ground doing that. Then we’re into July. It’s later than it appears.
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I complimented JL early last night, then roasted him some hours later. I thought he behaved badly. Doesn’t mean I want him tarred and feathered, he just didn’t handle the questons well last night. That’s all.
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Baseball is a very fluid thing. You’re up, you’re down. Most of our comments reflect that.
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Do I think we have some fans who behave badly? Yes, yes and yes. I don’t believe in booing myself, one reason being it makes the person doing it look like an immature idiot. If you must vent at the park however, I can see giving a little to Leyland because he makes the decisions. Booing Dontrelle when he left was wrong. Does anyone really think he needed to be told he was bad? He knew it more than anyone in the park. That’s just piling on. I can’t say that Detroit is a good place to play anymore, and that’s the saddest part.
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–Rich

This series was a warm up. The ChiSox series is the pivotal series of the year. Can we take it to a hot team who is ahead of us? If they can sweep this series I will hold out some hope.
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As far as Willis is concerned. All I can say is that his performances have been alarmingly disappointing. I think he may need to accept a demotion and work things out.
He awkward style has become clownish and I’m not sure he relaizes his career is on the line yet. He still hops and skips and jumps and gestures all over the mound like a kid off his Ritalin. I hope he can bear down, be willing to be a little more intense and serious on the mound and drop the histrionics. It might help to adopt another pitching style. Many pitchers refine their mechanics over th years and even to the point where they change their delivery. He still has a nice breaking ball and halfway decent change. He is a team guy and brings some cheer with him wherever he goes.
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He does need to figure it out though.
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I don’t agree with the Inge/Pudge alternation. At this point in his career, I am not a Pudge supporter as an effective cog in the machine. I think they need to drop in the order and order him to exert some discipline at the plate. Make him bunt more.
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Inge should be, purely and simply, a 3rd baseman. If not here then somewhere else. He deserves that. He is not a better than average catcher IMO and I can’t understand why they make this pronouncement now when he is obviously dealing with a physically limiting injury. Did you notice how many pitches he dropped last night? It’s kinda crazy. Like putting Sheffield in LF with a bad shoulder.
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We need to get Ordonez going too. He is hitting but he is not hitting in clutch situations. A lot of 1st pitch swinging is still going on. I still say bat Cab ahead of him and lets see what happens.
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Thames, somebody made a very good point on this, is always dangerous, but is not a consistently effective hitter.
As much as he is liked and appreciated he shows why he is not an everyday outfielder. I still thinks he has deserved the chance to win the LF job but bat him 6th instead of 3rd.
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Guillen is playing the hot corner better lately. I never liked the idea of the switch much but at least he is improving and his throws over to first are getting better.
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We are seeing signs of improvement. Polanco, Renteria and Cab (when he pulls the ball), Guillen, and the pitching, Willis notwithstanding.
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I don’t like the idea of batting Granderson 9th either. I think it is a good idea to alleviate some of the pressure of leading him off against a top LHP but not worth risking exposing him to the stigma of batting 9th. And there is a stigma to that that can’t be denied.
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We need our starters to throw us a pair of shutouts. Something like that would really pick this team up.

I feel bad for Dontrelle because you can see he’s really trying, unlike some of our hitters who don’t seem to give much effort. There’s something wrong with his delivery, and obviously he doesn’t know what it is. After hearing Rod and Mario talking about where his right foot ends up compared to Cliff Lee last night, I wonder if it could be something subconsious with his knee injury. A pitcher would normally just make his stride and place that leading foot down without thinking about it, which is exactly what happened when Dontrelle injured his knee. Could he now be worried about that happening again? Maybe. And yes, I know he struggled last year too, but I don’t think it was anything like last night. Last night looked like mechanics to me.

Going on recent history, I’m hoping the Inge/Pudge alternation at catcher lasts about as long as Thames starting in LF. JL might keep it up through interleague, he might not – you never know with him anymore.

The big downside, as I see it, is that I’m almost positive JL won’t play Brandon at 3rd on days he isn’t catching. That’s the real shame, because this team needs his defense. I know Carlos is looking better at the corner, but he still doesn’t have the range and athleticism that Brandon has. Brandon is usually good for at least one highlight-worthy play every time he plays 3rd. And I think his bat would heat up if he was playing everyday. Just look at how he started out this season when he was filling in for Granderson. He really cooled off when Curtis came back.

Some good points here. When Willis first came back from his injury, I wondered how comfortable you could be slamming down on that front foot. I’d assume that mental hesitation would resolve itself, although it may have created a mechanical problem. Wouldn’t you just love to sit in on one of his side sessions?
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I agree that his delivery can be changed, he’s only 26. I realize he’s pitched that way his entire life, but that doesn’t mean this is an impossbility. Of course, you don’t do that starting in the big leagues every fifth day, so that would mean a trip to the minors. The latter is the catch point. He has to agree to this. Sometimes the best way to be a good teammate is to remove yourself for awhile. If JL sends him out there Saturday, it means he believes Dontrelle can do the job. If he looks like he did last night…………well………uh……..
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I believe JL when he says he wants to get Pudge some rest. Pudge caught a lot of games because of injuries to the backups so far this season. He’s a trooper and won’t complain, so JL is making the decision for him. He’s not the player he used to be, but he’s also not the player we’ve seen here lately.
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Play Thames, but don’t hit him third. That’s not the spot for this kind of hitter.
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–Rich

Dontrelle is back in Forida!.
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Wow. I thought Toledo, maybe Erie to get it started but Lakeland?
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I hope he can get it together. He’s got persoanality and enthusiasm and isn’t a head case. Good luck Dontrelle and may you come back a better pitcher than ever.

Lets hope he doesn’t rub off on Rick Porcello while he’s down there… They’ll probably use this move to bring Lopez back and then when it comes time for Dontrelle’s rotation slot they’ll bring up a guy from AAA.

This was a good move, sending Willis down – no matter where it was (Lakeland). He definitely needs to get his mechanics figured out – better yet – get away from that wacky windup he has. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens with him.

I see they are bringing up Eddie Bonine from Toledo. Wow, I have to agree with an eariler post somewhere, the Tigs are really bleeding the Hens dry…and they are the ones having the good year, in spite of all the transactions. Too bad the Tigers can’t learn from them….seriously though, I know that is what the farm system is for and all, but it is still nice to at least see Toledo doing well AGAIN this year.

This is good news on several levels. First and foremost, since Willis had to okay the move, it proves he’s not just in this for his big contract and actually wants to improve and succeed. If Tiger fans are paying attention, they should get off Dontrelle’s case. In addition, at 26, he could still be a big part of future Detroit teams. Even if it took him three years to get straight (which it wouldn’t), we’d have a 29-year old starter who can get it done. This deal isn’t a dud yet. I hope they can find him a guru, a Dick Egan to Kenny Rogers type of relationship. Someone who can get him straight and keep him straight.
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It will be interesting to see Bonine, but they need to be thinking of getting Miner stretched out. It may come to that. There’s also Fossum, I guess.
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Regarding 2008 though, first things first. Anything less than two wins over Chicago and this thing becomes nigh onto impossible.
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–Rich

Going back on here for only my 2nd trip, I love some of these comments. Especially the one about the Zito trade. The Giants got smacked on that one!!!

Nonetheless, I’m just a FAN. An avid Tiger fan since 1967. I was in 6th grade then.

“Good guys” are “good” to have on the club. “Bad guys” are usually a cancer to the team. Ask the A’s and now the Rangers who their cancer is?? The point being for me is that they’re are lots of “good guys” in baseball. This is not the NBA for instance. A team needs good clubhouse guys. But if that good guy is a terrible pitcher(and remember its been a loooong time since Willis impressed anyone!!!!) he need not be on the team….. I mean, “why” to give an uplifting interview?? C’mon !! And, of course I understand “why” Jason wrote that article. But why write an article about that? The article should have been written about how badly this guy has performed for soooo long now. A-ball, is exactly where he ought to be !!! Send Verlander down there too until the guy learns to pitch, “major league style.” I’m tired of him getting the ball back from the catcher, swishing his leg back and forth and hurrying every single pitch!!!!! Anyway, this is not about JV….

Why am I irritated?? duh…… I don’t know….. how about the fact that Dumbrowski cashed in 1/3 of this teams future (2 career starters probably worth a combined 30 years, Maybin and a chunk of other quality players, not to mention one of the teams most valuable players, Infante(YES, Infante
for a $153,000,000 “3rd” baseman that can’t play 3rd, and a pitcher who soundly belongs in single A ball. Again, think the Braves and Marlins just learned how to spell, “coooooo”?

The guy who has the toughest job at this point would be Leyland, who has to keep spinning this thing, game after game…

I agree… Its sad, that Dontrelle didn’t do well.. its simply seems like his mechanics need work, and time to correct. He is a nightmare right now. You can’t compare him to a kid like Miller, who 2 years ago was throwing in a NCAA championships ? Then brought up last year, & expected to be an overnight starter..thats a lot of pressure.. showed great promise.. needed more maturing… and wasn’t he just showcased , like Maybin?

AND…
WHat happened to McBride? from the Maroth deal last year.. he disapeared.. didn’t he.
I have mixed feelings on DD on his deals he worked out. Its looking like a some clubs took advantage of us and stuck the Tigers with leftover players that other clubs couldn’t keep, and we paid for them!
DID we ever!!!

Lastly.. looking back to 2006 , wouldn’t most of you agree, that the changes have NOT been for the better to improve on that year?

To go back to my point at the top, here’s the extent of Miguel Cabrera’s remarks to the press after his three-hit game Tuesday night: “No interviews.”

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