Brewers’ Dontrelle Willis Positive Presence This Spring
Laughs rang out when the Milwaukee Brewers signed Dontrelle Willis. After having an almost silent offseason, some fans joked that the pitcher who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since the 2011 season and has not been successful at the major league level for nearly a decade, was the missing piece to put the team over the top.
But while the once dominant pitcher has a slim chance to make the team, his signing will not go down as a meaningless acquisition. Willis contiguous positive attitude and desire to get back to the big leagues will be a great example for every young arm on the roster. By signing Willis to a minor league deal the Brewers took a chance on a no-risk, high reward pitcher who could pay dividends.
Just a few days into spring training, the left-handed hopeful has already had a big impact on the Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. After meeting with Roenicke, the manager had nothing but positive things to say about Willis.
If he were to make the roster, Willis would give the Brewers third lefty in the bullpen and an arm that could be deceptively strong out of the bullpen. While Neal Cotts isn’t known as a left handed specialist, Willis could become that arm to get out a slugging lefty in the middle innings. If he could take over this role, he would allow the Brewers to keep Will Smith and his highly impressive slider as a daily late inning option.
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The odds are stacked against Willis this spring, but you couldn’t tell that by looking at him. The excitable lefty is exuberant and ready to give his all for one more shot. No one saw Zach Duke having the season he had last year as a non-roster invitee for the Brewers, but he became one of the most consistent arms in the entire Brewers bullpen. While I don’t expect Willis to have same impact as Duke had and I still view him as a gigantic long-shot to make the team seeing him on the opening day roster would be awesome.
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