Phillies sign Willis to one-year deal

The Phillies are the latest club hoping Dontrelle Willis can get his groove back.

Philadelphia signed the embattled left-hander to a one-year deal, a source told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki on Tuesday, confirming an earlier ESPN.com report. The source said the deal is pending a physical and is worth less than $1 million, plus incentives.

Willis went 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts last season with the Reds. He was the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year and finished second in the 2005 NL Cy Young Award voting, but started to battle serious control problems the following season and hasn’t been the same since.

But lefties hit just .127/.169/.200 in 55 at-bats against him last year, making a role as a left-handed specialist most realistic in Philly.  He could also compete for a spot in the rotation, although a spot in the bullpen seems much more likely. In the pen, Willis could be a swingman or possibly a left-handed specialist.

– Joey Nowak

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