Adam Conley, the left-hander who both intrigued and frustrated Marlins fans through the years, is hanging up his cleats, according to Christina De Nicola of MLB.com. This would have been Conley’s age-32 season.
The former second-round draft pick of the then-Florida Marlins spent parts of 10 seasons pitching in the organization. They selected Conley out of Washington State University and he debuted in the majors four years later. There were exciting flashes from him, like flirting with a no-hitter in 2016, but he often had trouble maintaining his velocity over full-length starts and was converted to a reliever in early 2018 (and remained in the role through the end of his career).
Earlier this offseason, Fish Stripes’ own Louis Addeo-Weiss revisited Conley’s turbulent 2017 campaign.
Conley looked to be emerging as a legitimate late-inning contributor in 2018. His fastball velo spiked into the high-90s. After being recalled from Triple-A, he held opponents scoreless in 25 of his 30 appearances entering the midseason trade deadline. With the Marlins completely out of the postseason picture, the front office had an opportunity to sell high on him...and passed.
Conley regressed a bit down the stretch in 2018 and became completely untrustworthy in 2019. One of the many Marlins players who contracted COVID-19 in early 2020, he got squeezed off the roster upon completing his recovery.
Conley’s initial plan for 2021 was to pitch for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan. COVID protocols complicated that. He opted to stay stateside instead and signed a minor league deal with the Rays. In mid-August, a bullpen spot opened up for him. Although he was effective in his return to The Show—2.29 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 1.02 WHIP in 19.2 IP—most of those appearances came in low-pressure situations. The Rays weren’t comfortable enough to use him in the postseason or tender him a major league contract for 2022.
By all accounts, Conley was cooperative with the media and generous with his teammates. In January, he reunited with a handful of current Marlins at Nick Neidert’s wedding.
Conley was one of four signees from the 2011 Marlins draft class to reach the majors, the others being José Fernández, Jake Esch and Austin Barnes (still active on the Dodgers).
Full-length television broadcasts of several of Conley’s best outings are embedded below:
Fish Stripes wishes Adam Conley success and fulfillment in the next chapter of his life.