We always knew Dontrelle Willis wasn’t perfect. We just didn’t care.
As far as we the fans were concerned, he was our “son”. When the Marlins traded Dontrelle and Miguel Cabrera many felt the same way I felt. First there was anger about losing Cabrera, a future “A-Rod” in the making but most of all there was sadness for losing Willis.
Let’s be honest, after his magical 2005 season Dontrelle was never the same. The ERA kept climbing while the losses kept stacking up. That was okay, though. It’s Dontrelle Willis, man. He is our hometown boy.
In 2006 after going 12-12 for the Marlins while giving up close to four runs a game, Dontrelle spent a night in jail after having one too many drinks and urinating in front of a Miami police officer. C’mon, boys will be boys!
It wasn’t until the next year that we finally began to witness the Dontrelle Willis downward spiral. While no one expected him to win 20 games with the line-up the Marlins put out, he finished the season with a very disappointing 10-15 record while giving up an ERA of 5.17. The magic was gone and by Winter he was packing his bags for Detroit.
So far this season Dontrelle has gotten off to a terrible start, been injured and spent time on the DL, been moved to the bullpen, and finally yesterday, sent down to the Minors, in single-A! His final MLB stats for the year: 0-1 in four starts with an ERA of 10.32.
It’s been quite a free fall from the days when Dontrelle was crowned “Rookie of the Year”. Today, he will join the ranks of Nicholas Martin and Jordan Tata of the Lakeland Flying Tigers. No one knows how long he will stay there but as of now it’s up to Dontrelle to take charge of his career and most of al his life. After all, this story has to have a happy ending. Dontrelle Willis deserves one.
photo credit: Michael Rodriguez