The Reds have signed lefty Ross Detwiler to a minor league contract, per Baseball America’s Chris Hilburn-Trenkle. The CAA client hasn’t yet been assigned to an affiliate, but his deal with the team is also reflected on the Reds’ transactions log at MLB.com.
Detwiler, 36, split the 2021 season between the Marlins and Padres, working to a combined 4.64 ERA with a 27.1% strikeout rate, an 8.7% walk rate and a 39.9% ground-ball rate in 52 1/3 innings. Detwiler made five starts, albeit working primarily as an opener, though his work to kick off games did not go well. The well-traveled southpaw notched a 2.82 ERA as a reliever while holding opponents to an awful .186/.287/.311 batting line. As a starter, he tossed 7 2/3 innings and was clobbered for 13 runs on 14 hits (seven homers) and three walks, with opponents batting .378/.439/1.054.
The former No. 6 overall draft pick has had plenty of experience pitching both out of rotations and bullpens in the big leagues, but he’s been far more effective as a reliever late in his career. That goes beyond just the 2021 season; Detwiler had a nice year with the White Sox in 2020, tossing 19 2/3 innings with a 3.20 ERA out of the bullpen. Dating back to 2018, Detwiler has a 4.12 ERA, 22.1% strikeout rate and 8.2% walk rate in 83 innings as a reliever. Working as a starter in that time, he’s been tagged for a 6.96 ERA with just a 15.9% strikeout rate.
While Detwiler could technically give the Reds some rotation depth at a time when both Luis Castillo and Mike Minor are on the injured list, that recent track record makes him seem far likelier to serve as left-handed bullpen depth. Justin Wilson is currently the only lefty reliever in manager David Bell’s bullpen, and Cincinnati doesn’t have another lefty option on the 40-man roster. Former Rockies reliever Phillip Diehl is in Triple-A Louisville, and Detwiler seems likely to join him there as an upper-level option once he gets built up.