June 1st, 2010

Dontrelle update: Deal appears to be close

Dontrelle Willis is close to finding a new home. The Tigers aren’t confirming any deal at this point, but Arizona is looking like the most likely destination.

Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reports a deal is done pending a physical. Neither the Diamondbacks nor the Tigers are saying anything is official at this point, and Willis’ agent Matt Sosnick said he hasn’t gotten word. Still, it’s clear the two sides are in discussions. D’backs general manager Josh Byrnes confirmed interest to MLB.com Monday night.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday night he has “nothing to say.”

The Tigers have had interest from several clubs, all in the National League, and they’re expected to deal him shortly. Arizona makes the most sense, both because of their need for pitching and the location. Willis just closed on a new home in Arizona last week.

Ironically enough, Willis is not there right now. He spent Tuesday in Toledo, where he worked out with the Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field and threw a side session under the watch of pitching coach A.J. Sager. He’s free to work out there this week while the Hens are in town, but it looks like he won’t be there long.

Willis is due about $8.1 million for the remainder of his three-year, $29 million contract. The Tigers are expected to pick the vast majority of that, save for the prorated minimum salary of about $266,000.

When outfielders, infielders collide …

By Monday morning, most of the Tigers had seen the play from Sunday night’s Rangers-Twins game, where Denard Span and Orlando Hudson collided in shallow center field and banged knees. Span eventually got up OK, but Hudson was undergoing tests Monday. It’s the kind of play more than a few Tigers have encountered.

Without that kind of play, Magglio Ordonez might never have become a Tiger. His collision forced him to undergo knee surgery and arguably led the White Sox to let him walk as a free agent. Johnny Damon has been injured on a play like that. Carlos Guillen has been involved in those types of plays. Ex-Tiger Placido Polanco was involved in one too.
“There’s so many balls that dump in there,” Damon said, “and both guys are trying to get it.”
 Said Guillen: “You have to keep it simple. You have to communicate.”