Tough news out of Phillies camp today. Dontrelle Willis was released by Philadelphia this morning after struggling to find consistency on the mound these last couple of weeks.
Unfortunately for the ’02 Cougar, finding consistency has been all too difficult these last few years.
Everyone probably knows the story by now, about how Willis ascended to big league stardom shortly after leaving us at Kane County. Willis was part of the ’02 Cougars team and an All-Star that summer. He even combined with 2 other Cougars pitchers for a tandem no-hitter that May. One year later, Willis was a World Series Champion with the ’03 Marlins, National League Rookie of the Year, and one of the game’s rising stars and sensations.
In 2005, Willis won 22 games – his career best – and was a Cy Young Award Winner runner-up.
By 2007, Willis was a member of the Tigers after a high-profile deal sent him to Detroit from Miami. And that’s where things began to stall. Willis has went from Motown to Cincinnati and most recently, Philadelphia, in the hopes to resurrecting his magic that we all saw several years ago.
For whatever reason, it just hasn’t happened.
If Willis would have broken camp with the Phillies, it would have undoubtedly been out of their bullpen. But through three spring training appearances, there was too much inconsistency to overlook.
Willis is still 30 years old, so there’s still an opportunity. But 2003 was a long time ago. Here’s hoping he can at least return to consistent form and a team can find value in his left arm. I think we still kind of miss that funky delivery, too.