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Dontrelle Willis

As one of the most-talked about players on the trade rumor circuit, Dontrelle Willis is under a higher level of scrutiny than most major league players.  Not only are teams more carefully examining Willis, the local media help disseminate those teams' assessments in efforts to advance any negotiations between that team and the Marlins.

Dontrelle Willis' 3 2/3 inning appearance tonight won't do anything to dispel the whispers amongst the baseball punditry that Willis is no longer the pitcher he was three seasons ago.  In fact, he is likely to make 2007 his second consecutive season in which his HRs allowed increases. He gave-up 11 in 2005 (236.1 IP), 21 last year (223.1 IP) and has allowed 15 so far this year in 118 innings.  To worsen matters, his walk totals are following the same trend - 55 to 83 to 53 so far.  More walks and more HRs allowed are two trends that should cause anyone to pause.

Those stats and Willis' start are not going to help ameliorate the possibly harsh feelings engendered between the Mariners and Marlins following comments by Marlins owner Dave Samson as reported in this morning's Miami Herald:

Marlins owner David Samson lashed out at the reported five-year, $100 million deal that the Seattle Mariners are expected to give outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.

''It will take the sport down, that contract,'' Samson said on Dan Le Batard's 790 The Ticket Show on Wednesday. ``Right back to the ridiculous contracts.''

Samson said ``If Ichiro is worth $20 million a year, I am speechless by that contract. There is no chance anybody is worth that. And Ichiro, who's led his team to zero, nothing? It's unbelievable. You know what, everybody gets what they deserve. I guess maybe that will be more luxury tax money, more revenue sharing they have to give.''

I am surprised these comments did not get more play given the attention a Willis-to-Seattle trade has been receiving over the past couple days.