The Padres announced they’ve signed reliever Ross Detwiler to a major league contract. Righty Shaun Anderson was optioned to Triple-A El Paso to clear active roster space. San Diego already had a vacancy on the 40-man roster, so no move was necessary in that regard.
Detwiler had previously spent the entire 2021 campaign with the Marlins, who signed him to a one-year, $850K guarantee over the offseason. The veteran southpaw spent the year as a bullpen option for Miami manager Don Mattingly, working primarily in lower-leverage situations. Detwiler made 46 appearances (including five starts as an opener) and worked 45 1/3 innings of 4.96 ERA ball.
It has been an interesting season for Detwiler, who has revamped his plan of attack. Generally a low-strikeout, ground-ball oriented hurler, he’s tweaked his pitch mix and gotten wildly different results than he has in years past. Detwiler has cut his sinker usage nearly in half in favor of a more four-seam heavy approach. That has resulted in a career-best strikeout rate (28%), with hitters taking a career-high 19.2% of his offerings for called strikes. But it’s come with an accompanying dip in ground balls, as Detwiler has gone from inducing grounders on more than half the balls in play against him between 2019-20 down to 39.7% this season.
With Detwiler nearing free agency anyways, the non-contending Marlins designated him for assignment and released him over the weekend. Miami will remain on the hook for the majority of Detwiler’s remaining salary, with the Friars responsible for paying him only the prorated portion of the league minimum for his final couple weeks of work.
Detwiler signs with San Diego after August 31, so he won’t be eligible for the Padres’ postseason roster if the team makes it to the playoffs. The 35-year-old will get an opportunity to pitch in meaningful games down the stretch, though, as he tries to help the Friars get into the postseason before again reaching free agency this winter.
For the Padres, there’s no real harm in bringing Detwiler aboard. They enter play tonight tied with the Cardinals, half a game behind the Reds for the National League’s final playoff spot. Their season quite obviously hangs in the balance over their final nineteen games, but the pitching staff continues to deal with injuries. Chris Paddack landed on the injured list last night, and Blake Snell left his most recent start early. Detwiler’s not a true rotation option at this stage of his career, but he’s capable of shouldering an inning or two to deepen an overall pitching staff that might have to rely on a few bullpen games down the stretch.