Former Marlins and Rays pitcher Adam Conley is retiring, reports Christina De Nicola of MLB.com (Twitter link). The left-hander steps away from the game after an 11-year professional career that included parts of six big league seasons.
The then-Florida Marlins selected Conley out of Washington State University in the second round of the 2011 draft. Over the next few years, he was regarded as one of the better arms in the Marlins system, and he debuted in the majors in 2015. Conley immediately offered capable mid-rotation production, pitching to a 3.82 ERA and holding opponents to a .253/.335/.398 slash line in 200 1/3 combined innings over his first two seasons.
Things went off the rails in 2017, though. Conley’s average fastball velocity dropped around two MPH (from 91.9 to 90) and his strikeout rate ticked down. He allowed a 6.14 ERA in 22 outings before hitting the injured list with finger tendinitis that August. The following season, the Fish moved Conley to the bullpen.
He rather remarkably added more than five ticks to his heater in relief, averaging north of 95 MPH in 2018. Conley pitched to a decent 4.09 ERA in 50 2/3 innings out of the ’pen that season, but he struggled in 2019. He didn’t pitch at all in 2020, as he spent a month on the COVID-19 injured list before Miami designated him for assignment and outrighted him off their 40-man roster. Conley signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball last winter but returned stateside in May after Japan’s pandemic protocols prevented his family from joining him in Sendai.
The 31-year-old signed a minor league deal with Tampa Bay last season and was selected onto the big league club in August. He worked 19 2/3 innings of 2.29 ERA ball down the stretch. The Rays nevertheless designated him for assignment after the season and he became a minor league free agent upon clearing waivers.
There’s little doubt Conley could’ve at least gotten another minors deal with an invitation to big league camp this spring had he wanted to keep pitching. He’s apparently decided to step away from the game instead, leaving with a 4.71 ERA over 434 MLB innings. Conley started 56 of his 191 appearances at the highest level. He struck out 374 batters and picked up 25 wins, five saves and 22 holds. MLBTR congratulates Conley on a fine career and wishes him all the best in his post-playing endeavors.