The Marlins announced that left-hander Ross Detwiler has been designated for assignment. The move opens up space for Eddy Alvarez to join Miami’s roster for the first time this season, as the infielder’s contract has been selected from Triple-A Jacksonville.
After working as a low-strikeout, groundball specialist for his first 12 Major League seasons, Detwiler flipped the script in 2021 after inking a one-year deal with Miami last winter. Detwiler’s increased use of a slider has elevated his strikeout rate to 28% over 45 1/3 frames for the Marlins, exactly double the 14% strikeout rate he carried over the rest of his career. Detwiler’s grounder rate has also dropped to 39.7% (from 47% prior to 2020).
Unfortunately for Detwiler, he hasn’t had much luck this season. While he has a 3.38 SIERA and .299 xwOBA, his actual ERA (4.96) and wOBA (.328) are much less flattering. He has worked almost entirely as a relief pitcher this season while making five “starts” as an opener, and two of those outings were responsible for much of the damage to Detwiler’s ERA. If you subtract the 3 2/3 innings and 13 runs allowed over those two rough starts (July 7 against the Dodgers and July 19 against the Nationals), Detwiler has a 2.59 ERA over his remaining 41 2/3 innings of work.
Given this overall solid track record, it is a little surprising to see Detwiler hit the DFA wire, though the Marlins might simply want to give some opportunity to younger pitchers. It seems quite possible that another club (perhaps a contender looking for left-handed relief depth) will claim Detwiler away from Miami. Detwiler wouldn’t be eligible for postseason play since he would be joining a new team after August 31, though he could certainly help a team on the bubble get into the playoffs.
A waiver claim would mean absorbing the approximately $108K remaining on Detwiler’s original $850K salary for the season, but that is hardly a hefty sum to add to a payroll, unless a team is in a major luxury tax crunch. If Detwiler isn’t claimed, he has the right to reject an outright assignment from the Marlins and choose free agency.
Alvarez made his MLB debut last season, appearing in 12 games with his hometown Marlins and hitting .189/.268/.216 over 41 plate appearances. Perhaps best known for his two-sport exploits, Alvarez was an accomplished speed skater who won a silver medal as part of the U.S. 5000m relay team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Alvarez compounded that success by winning a silver medal as a member of the American baseball team at this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo, making him just the sixth athlete in history to capture medals in different sports at both the Winter and Summer Games.