Dontrelle Willis: Mariners’ rotation provides ‘quality every single day’

Mar 27, 2024, 3:31 PM | Updated: 7:59 pm

Seattle Mariners Bryce Miller Logan Gilbert Bryan Woo...

Bryce Miller in the Seattle Mariners dugout along with Bryan Woo and Logan Gilbert in June 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Just how good will the 2024 Seattle Mariners be? After missing the playoffs in 2023, expectations are high in the Pacific Northwest, especially as many media members are bullish on the team as we near the start of the regular season.

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Dontrelle Willis, a former MLB pitcher and current analyst for FOX Sports, joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Wednesday to give his insight into the Mariners ahead of opening day.

“I’m super excited about this season. A lot of great storylines, especially about these Seattle Mariners that look well constructed this year once again,” Willis said.

Many analysts and outlets are pegging the Mariners as a “sleeper” team that could contend for a World Series. Willis joked that if that many people are picking them to be an impact team, they’re not really a sleeper.

A big part of why Willis is high on the Mariners in 2024? Of course the longtime MLB pitcher pointed to Seattle’s pitching staff.

“If you look at that rotation between (Luis) Castillo, (Logan) Gilbert, (George) Kirby, (Bryce) Miller and (Bryan) Woo it’s like, man, they can throw out quality every single day,” he said.

Willis is a southaw, which is something the Mariners’ rotation doesn’t have. That doesn’t matter to him, though.

“If you’re looking as far as pure stuff, it doesn’t matter. I mean, the one thing about it, they all give you different looks from the right side, you know what I mean? So you have different weapons,” he said. “With Castillo, it’s the riding fastball and changeup and Gilbert can get swing and miss at the top of the zone as well. So even though they’re all right-handed, they’re not afraid to attack the zone and with the M’s being athletic defensively and especially in that ballpark, I think it’s going to pay dividends.”

Just how good is the Mariners’ rotation compared to all of baseball?

“They’re top five. And that front three with Castillo, Kirby and Gilbert, they can go up against anybody in baseball,” Willis said. “I don’t think anybody wants to get in a gunslinging match with these guys, especially at home. I mean, they pitch with a lot of confidence at home and again, I talked about the different looks, there’s something about this group that screams to me mound presence.”

Willis pitched in some good rotations early in his career, and what the Mariners have now reminds him of some of the then-Florida Marlins rotations he was part of in the early-2000s.

“We all had different looks and once we started to have rhythm within the rotation, we felt like we can win any matchup against anybody because (the team) trusted our staff to win that matchup on the mound,” Willis said. “This reminds me a lot of that type of staff where they have stuff and they know that win or lose, it’s going to go through the rotation. And you kind of relish in having that responsibility. I’m super excited to see this rotation and hopefully they stay healthy, which they did last year for the most part.”

Catch Wyman and Bob every weekday from 2 to 7 p.m. on Seattle Sports.

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