Willis Avoids Arbitration: Signs one Year Deal

Why controlling contracts is so important


Hot off the presses. Dontre Willis has signed a one year extension for $6.45 million. Lyle Overbay has avoided arbitration and agreed to a six year, $24 million deal. Miguel Cabrera is eligible for arbitration this off-season and is expected to received a judgment of $6 – $7 million for one year.




I’m not going to call upon examples of this season’s free agent class and their contracts. Everyone knows where I’d go with that one. By now I have to be the most annoying broken record out there, but this is yet another example of benefits of controlling younger players contracts, in pre-arbitration years (three seasons, salary of $350,000 – $400,000 per season on average), to the typically low arbitration settlements (usually close to half of market value for one season).



Willis (25) had what would be considered an off year in 2006, with a 3.87 ERA & 1.42 Whip. In 2005 he won 22 games, posted a 2.63 ERA & 1.13 WHIP. Compared to Ted Lilly & Gil Meche (basically twice the cost per season, aging, & long term contracts), Willis is Sandy Koufax.

I’m sure the related articles tab in the lower right hand corner of this article will shed some light to those unfamiliar with my stance. But clearly now, more than ever, controlling a player’s contract is the number one tool in building a low team salary structure. After that, the team can keep the profit (it is a business after all) or use the added payroll flexibility to add key free agent and high dollar contracts in the hopes of putting the team “over the top”.



Dontrelle Willis

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