Dontrelle Willis has signed a minor-league deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to a report by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Chicago is the organization that originally drafted him in the eighth round of the 2000 amateur draft and traded him to the Marlins in 2002 in a transaction involving Julian Tavarez, Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement, among others.
Willis will get an invitation to the Cubs' minor-league camp at spring training. Depending on his performance, he might get a shot at the MLB camp.
The 30-year-old lefty played for nine seasons in the majors with the Marlins, Tigers, Diamondbacks and Reds, leaving a 72-69 lifetime record with a 4.17 ERA in 1221⅔ innings of work. He signed as a free agent with the Phillies in 2012, but was released in March and then agreed to terms with the Orioles four days later.
Willis pitched in Triple-A with a 0-3 record and a 8.53 ERA; prompting him to announce his retirement last July.
After being a dominant hurler in his prime with the Marlins, and becoming National League Rookie of the Year in 2006, his luck changed when he was traded to the Tigers. He experienced anxiety and depression issues, which influenced his performance on the mound, and he never fully recovered until he decided to call it quits.
This retirement, however, has been put on hold, and Willis will get another chance.