ESPN.com's Rob Neyer doesn't appear to think that signing Dontrelle Willis to a long-term contract was a good idea.
Yes, Willis' numbers point to a downward trend. And if he ends up being a fifth starter, $10 million per season is a huge price to pay. But Neyer also points out that Willis' strikeout numbers have remained the same (6.4 batters per nine innings), which would seem to indicate that the stuff is still there. So the issue is whether or not that stuff can be controlled properly. And I like Chuck Hernandez's chances of straightening out whatever mechanical problems Willis might have, along with the benefit of a better defense playing behind him. Is this wishful thinking? Maybe, but I think Willis is worth a shot.
Just when I think I've attained an upper hand over my arch-nemesis, Samara, she gets comments from actual major league players at Roar of the Tigers. Chad Durbin caught word of the pimp attire that Sam had outfitted him throughout last season, and had some kind words to share as he moved onto his new team. Affirmation for some hilarious blogging by Samela.
By the way, if you didn't catch the news, Durbin has already found gainful employment elsewhere, signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. One of Pat Gillick's off-season goals must have been to lead the majors in Durbins, as Chad teams up with J.D. to compete for the fifth starter job.
Christina Kahrl breaks out some Transaction Analysis on the AL Central at Baseball Prospectus. Here's some of what she has to say on the Tigers:
Dombrowski made an outstanding call, leveraging promise for young star players coming into what should be their prime seasons. You don't just win now with a guy like Cabrera (and perhaps also Willis), you win into the future.
Over at The Detroit Tigers Weblog, Billfer is posting his own version of Mythbusters. I've always shared the belief that left field and center field are so big at Comerica Park that two center fielders are required to cover all the space out there. Not so fast, my friend.
Using park factors as his gauge, Bill shows that fewer balls actually drop into that left-center gap for hits than in other parks around the majors. So maybe that perception has been largely influenced by the Tigers putting sub-par defenders in left field over the past few seasons. When those balls do fall in, however, it's probably going for a triple.