Dodgers Hire Dontrelle Willis As Special Assistant

The Los Angeles Dodgers hired Dontrelle Willis as a special assistant, which the former MLB pitcher announced himself on social media. Manager Dave Roberts confirmed Willis is now part of the Dodgers front office, but didn’t yet have specifics on the role.

“Anytime you can get the knowledge and energy is a good thing for any organization,” Roberts said. “We’ll know more later.”

Willis won the National League Rookie of the Year Award and earned an All-Star Game selection in 2003. Two years later the left-hander went 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA, leading the league with seven complete games and five shutouts. Willis finished second in Cy Young voting in 2005.

Unfortunately that wound up being his last successful season. Willis went 12-12 with a 3.87 the following season and struggled again in 2007 to the tune of a 5.07 ERA. That wound up being his final season with the Florida Marlins, and Willis never threw more than 75.2 innings in a single year.

Willis spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, and in 2010 also played for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He continued to attempt pitching the following year, but was 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts for the Cincinnati Reds.

Although Willis failed to replicate his early success, the 65.2 innings pitched for the Reds was his most since throwing 205.1 for the Marlins in 2007.

The Dodgers have often welcomed former pitchers into camp, most notably franchise icon and current SportsNet LA analyst Orel Hershiser. Joel Peralta and Jamey Wright have also been in uniform during Spring Training to assist Dodgers pitchers.

Ibañez leaves Dodgers for MLB

Although Willis may not be a direct replacement, the Dodgers recently lost special assistant Raul Ibañez when he accepted a position with MLB as senior vice president of on-field operations.

Ibañez had been part of the Dodgers organization since 2016 when he was hired to assist in all aspects of baseball operations, including scouting, player development and working with the club’s players, both at the Major and Minor League levels.

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