The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired pitcher Dontrelle Willis, the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 2003, from the Detroit Tigers.
The Diamondbacks sent pitcher Billy Buckner to Detroit for Willis, a former 22-game winner who was designated for assignment after going 1-2 with a 4.98 earned run average this season. The Tigers will pay the rest of Willis’s $12 million salary for 2010, minus the prorated portion of the minimum salary of $400,000, MLB.com said.
Willis, a 28-year-old left-hander, went 68-54 with a 3.78 ERA over his first five Major League Baseball seasons with the Florida Marlins. He was acquired by the Tigers in 2007 and signed a three-year, $29 million contract, before injuries, lack of command and an anxiety disorder led him to go 2-8 with a 6.86 ERA with Detroit.
“It was a great place to play baseball, but I just didn’t get it done,” Willis told reporters, according to MLB.com. “It’s definitely rejuvenating that someone else wants you and believes in you. I was very excited. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start.”
Willis won the NL’s rookie award in 2003, when the Marlins won the World Series as he went 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA. He went 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA in 2005.