But maybe there is a slapdash happy ending to this story. Willis was DFA'd to make room for Max Scherzer, another struggling young'un. He was sent down to Toledo to try and lower that May ERA of 13.19. Two starts later in Triple-A, he came back up, took Willis' spot in the rotation, and struck out 14 batters — not just a personal best, but the most anyone's thrown so far this year.
If he has a good head on his shoulders, this is not the end of Dontrelle Willis' story. He did some charitable things off the field in Detroit, so there's no reason to believe that baseball failure automatically portends personal failure. (Hey, Cecil Fielder disproved the inverse.) Maybe he'll find another team this year. Or next year. Perhaps he can do the Rick Ankiel thing and reinvent himself as an outfielder. Or maybe it's something else. Who knows.
If Tigers fans, underneath the knee-jerk pessimism and snap defeatist attitude, are as sincere as I believe them to be, they'll all wish him the best of luck. Unless he joins the Twins and repeatedly shuts down the Tigers lineup.