Willis’ numbers are not so inspiring at the moment, 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA, but they were much worse before his past two outings. In road starts versus Atlanta and Tampa Bay, Willis yielded just 4 earned runs and 14 hits in 17 innings. Unfortuntely, the Marlins putrid offense gave him very little run support and he ended up with one loss and a no decision.
The 24-year old Willis put together his finest season in 2005 before Florida once again began trading away most of the high priced players, as he led the league with 22 wins and sported an impressive 2.63 ERA, nearly winning the CY Yound Award in the process. So, it’s no surprise such teams as St. Louis, Philadelphia. Arizona and the New York Yankees are interested in acquiring Willis, who still may not of reached his peak
Marlins owner Jeff Loria insists that Willis and the teams only other star player, Miggy Cabrera, are not on the trading block. But unless the organization moves to a more revenue friendly area (likely San Antonio) it’s just a matter of time before they are forced to move the duo.
Willis’ 2006 salary stands at $4.35 million and he is eligible for arbitration at the end of the year and could command close to $10 million per season over the next three years, a price the Marlins simply do not want to pay unless they have a relocation plan in the works.
Though Loria and the organization can simply deflect the trade rumors right now, talks will heat up as we get closer to the MLB trade deadline of July 31st.
John Onan (aka ego74) is moderator and co-owner of http://www.whalewager.com which is a sports and gambling forum that offers free daily contests and great sports and gambling talk