D-Backs Exchange Buckner for Willis

D-Backs Exchange Buckner for Willis

The Arizona Diamondbacks have acquired two-time All-Star Dontrelle Willis and cash considerations from the Detroit Tigers for right-handed pitcher Billy Buckner. Detroit will pay the left-hander's remaining salary for this year minus the prorated portion of the minimum salary of $400,000.

Dontrelle Willis, 28, has compiled a 70-62 record and 4.06 ERA in 186 games (184 starts) during eight major league seasons with the Florida Marlins and Tigers from 2003-10. He was the National League Rookie of the Year after posting a 14-6 record and 3.30 ERA with 142 strikeouts in 160 2/3 innings for the World Champion Marlins in 2003. Willis also finished second in Cy Young Award voting in 2005 after posting career bests with 22 wins, a 2.63 ERA, 170 strikeouts. and 236 1/3 innings pitched for Florida.

Willis was acquired by the Tigers, along with Miguel Cabrera, in an eight-player trade with the Marlins on December 5, 2007. The left-hander compiled a 2-8 record and 6.86 ERA in 24 games (22 starts) in three seasons in Detroit, including a 1-2 mark and 4.98 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 29 walks over 43 1/3 innings in nine games (eight starts) this season. Willis also spent time in Detroit's minor league system the past two seasons on injury rehabilitation assignments.

He posted a combined 3-4 record and 4.47 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) for Triple-A Toledo and Class A Lakeland in 2008 after a hyperextension to his right knee early in the season placed him on the disabled list. Willis also spent considerable time on an injury-rehab assignment with an anxiety disorder in 2009 and compiled a 2-3 mark and 4.58 ERA with 23 strikeouts over 37 1/3 innings in seven starts with Lakeland, Double-A Erie and Toledo.

"We are pleased to add Dontrelle to our pitching staff," D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes said. "He has shown he can overcome adversity, and we hope that he can help solidify our pitching staff."

"[Willis has] stuff that can play in the strike zone and coming back to the National League and getting into the flow of things, hopefully he can pitch like a lot of our starters have and give us a chance to win games," continued Byrnes. "There's some progress with the strike throwing; it still needs to get better."

Billy Buckner, 26, has a 6-11 record and 6.25 ERA in 36 games (21 starts) in four major league seasons with the Kansas City Royals and D-backs from 2007-10. The right-hander had a 0-3 record and 11.08 ERA while striking out 11 and walking 5 over 13 innings in three starts for the D-backs this season.  His fastball velocity has decreased in the past two seasons and his changeup has never been a consistent pitch.

Buckner was Arizona's organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2009 after going 9-3 with a 3.32 ERA and a .239 opponent's batting average in 16 starts for Triple-A Reno. Overall, Buckner has compiled a 49-42 record and a 4.20 ERA in 141 games (123 starts) in the minor leagues after he was the Royals' second-round selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.


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