Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The D-Train has left the station.
Oakland A’s fans got to enjoy former All-Star pitcher Dontrelle Willis as part of NBC Sports’ TV studio crew of analysts covering the team, but it turns out that was a one-year ticket.
The Los Angeles Dodgers hired Willis to work in their player development department, as a special assistant. He reported the news himself on Twitter.
The Oakland native and Encinal High School (Alameda) alum pitched nine seasons in the majors. He won the Rookie of the Year with the then-Florida Marlins in 2003 and then helped the team to a World Series victory, and two years later he finished runner-up for the NL Cy Young award. He also made the All-Star team both of those summers, all by age 23. The good times didn’t last, as the lefty struggled from 2008-11 and was out of the majors before turning 30, but he still had an excellent and memorable career including an all-time great windup on the mound.
The fan favorite was also one of the best-hitting pitchers of the 21st century, with a career .244 average, .665 OPS, and nine homers in 447 plate appearances. His 75 wRC+ is tied with Mike Hampton for the highest since 2000 among pitchers, in a minimum of 250 plate appearances. (Lower the bar to 100 PAs and you add Owings, Kieschnick, Backe, and Lorenzen above them. Zack Greinke and Carlos Zambrano are next after Willis/Hampton.)
In 2015 Willis began doing TV work for Fox as a national studio analyst, before moving to the A’s beat on NBCS. Now he’ll try his hand in a front office, though he might still be figuring out exactly what his duties are. Best of luck in LA!
Special assistant sounds dope even tho i don’t know what it means— Dontrelle Willis (@DTrainMLB) March 1, 2021
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- Kawahara: A’s Mark Canha struggled with, then embraced, lack of in-game video ($)
- Kawahara: A’s spring training observations: Chapman nears return to third ($)
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- AN: Paul Blackburn clears waivers, sticks with A’s as non-roster invitee
- AN: Meet the A’s 2021 spring non-roster invitee pitchers
MLB News & Interest
- Dierkes: Out Of Options 2021
- Byrne: Checking In On Last Season’s Worst Bullpens
- Ghiroli and Strang: ‘Worst-kept secret’: What the Indians, MLB really knew about Mickey Callaway’s behavior ($$$)
- Today in Baseball History
- A’s spring news: Montas and Barrera arrive; pitchers and TV info for first Cactus League games
- Spring Game #1: Prospect showcase in A’s spring opener
- Spring Game #2: A’s hit so well that Reds invoke mercy rule twice
- Buddy Reed and Nick Allen show off defense in Cactus League opener
- CPL #20: Buddy Reed has elite defense but must prove bat
Social distancing for fans at spring games
Here’s what the seating “pods” look like on the berm pic.twitter.com/KKp87LLKtB— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) February 28, 2021
As for the fans themselves, here’s proof they exist
Pregame scene in Mesa, where the A’s are hosting the Reds with a limited number of fans permitted. pic.twitter.com/Z7blBlsAqD— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) March 1, 2021
Andrus: "I'm planning to steal a lot of bases this year." Says he learned a lot about stealing bases from Oakland legend Gary Pettis and looks forward to getting to talk about base running with another Oakland legend, Rickey Henderson.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) March 2, 2021
More Andrus content
Oakland shortstop Elvis Andrus mostly wore No. 1 in Texas and now is 17 with A's. His dad's number. Always wanted it, but wasn't always available with Rangers.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) March 2, 2021
Rehab of the Jedi
Bob Melvin says Jed Lowrie has been getting at-bats against A's pitchers in camp, but training staff still hasn't cleared him to play in games yet.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) March 2, 2021
Buddy Reed in right is fluent in the language of outfield assists
Nick Allen defensive clinic
Bracewell needed only 8 pitches for his scoreless inning on Sunday
#athletics Ben Bracewell— Kim C (@Cu_As) February 28, 2021
FA signee from Mississippi State in 2014. Had labrum surgery, then Tommy John before signing with an Indy League team before the #Athletics signed him.
If you’re not cheering for his success, it’s on you. pic.twitter.com/waRPZuTEK7
Fellow Sooners, Cody Thomas and Sheldon Neuse, traded for each other this winter, reunited at third base in the spring opener
Best of Twitter
Hunter Dozier sticks with Royals for at least 4yr/$25m and maybe up to 5yr/$49m, depending on escalators and a club option
The full terms of Hunter Dozier's extension, per source:— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) March 1, 2021
First year: $2.25M
Option: $10M club option or $1M buyout
Dozier's deal has $1M escalators, which can be earned beginning this year for award recognition. More escalators, too.
Usually baseball news makes you feel old, but here’s one to feel young again. Drew Hutchison is still out there trying to pitch, and he’s still only 30.
Veteran pitcher and Lakeland native Drew Hutchison has joined the Tigers' minicamp. He started his career with Toronto, was traded to the Pirates and has pitched for a bunch of teams since then. He played indy ball in 2020. https://t.co/kzUrgC1wLG— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) February 27, 2021
Intra-AL West waiver claim
Today the Astros claimed INF Robel Garcia off waivers. 67 players remain in Major League camp with the Angels. https://t.co/MvMD6UsM9S— Angels PR (@LAAngelsPR) February 27, 2021
Kaz hair update
Scott Kazmir is shaggier than he was with the A’s so sorta somehow looks younger. pic.twitter.com/aHbawBVz47— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 27, 2021
I, for one, think Greinke’s best bet would be to go back to the NL and not be on the Astros anymore
The only milestones Zack Greinke cares about? 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases.— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) March 1, 2021
He currently has 9 of each
Great excuse (yesterday) to enjoy a classic A’s highlight!
Live look at the Angels trying to grab an AL West crown