1:52pm: MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets that Detwiler’s contract is a Major League deal.
1:42pm: The Braves have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent left-hander Ross Detwiler, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Detwiler, a client of CAA Sports, was recently released by the Rangers after struggling in his first brush with the American League. The Rangers had acquired him from the Nationals in an offseason trade.
Detwiler, 29, was the sixth pick in the 2007 draft out of Missouri State University. Though he never emerged as the consistent rotation option that the Nationals had hoped for when he was selected with that high pick, Detwiler looked the part of a serviceable starter from 2012-13 (3.59 ERA, 5.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 in 46 games/40 starts) and posted solid, if unspectacular numbers in the bullpen in 2014. Last year, he notched a 4.00 ERA in 63 innings, averaging 5.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.
The 2015 season, however, has been an ugly on for Detwiler. In 43 innings split between the Texas rotation and bullpen, the lefty has a 7.12 ERA with 5.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and a career-worst 36.4 percent ground-ball rate. With the Rangers, Detwiler cut down on the usage of his four-seamer and relied much more heavily on his sinker, slider and changeup, and the change in pitch selection seems to have contributed to his unfavorable results.
The Braves will hope that a return to the NL East and working with pitching coach Roger McDowell can help Detwiler return to his previously effective form. If nothing else, Detwiler should be a useful relief option against left-handed hitters; even in his poor 2015, he held same-handed batters to a .220/.280/.317 slash line. Throughout his career, lefties have batted just .232/.305/.301 against him.
Detwiler’s earning $3.45MM this season after avoiding arbitration last winter, but the Rangers will be on the hook for all of that figure, less the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time spent on Atlanta’s active roster.