Unless the Marlins were to work out a trade with Detroit for Dontrelle Willis, there's very little chance he'll return to the club where he started his major league career. That's because if Willis is released and becomes a free agent, his preference would be to remain a starting pitcher -- a role the Diamondbacks, unlike the Marlins, are apparently willing and able to offer.
"He would definitely choose to start," said Willis' agent, Matt Sosnick.
Willis was designated for assignment on Sunday by the Tigers, who have until June 9 to trade, waive or release him. While the Diamondbacks have contacted the Tigers about Willis and have a spot in their rotatoin that they could give to him, the Marlins are only mildly interested in Willis, and only as a potential lefty reliever out of the bullpen. The Marlins' rotation is set.
Other teams are also thought to be interested in Willis.
Sosnick told the Arizona Republic that Arizona is "one of the places he would rather play."
"Out West in the National League would be his choice," Sosnick said of Willis, who is from California originally.
Sosnick said Willis and his wife were already planning to relocate from Florida to Arizona "before all this happened."
The Marlins' interest in Willis is mixed, and for obvious reasons. Willis has little experience as a reliever, and his control issues are a major concern for a team that has made it a priority to cut down on walks. Marlins pitchers -- both starters and relievers -- are issuing fewer walks this season.
Furthermore, Taylor Tankersley has done nothing in his brief time so far with the Marlins to make them think he can't serve as their situational lefty. Tankersley, who was called up from Triple A New Orleans last week, has retired all five left-handed hitters that he's faced, including Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jason Heyward.