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2021 Marlins Season Review: Ross Detwiler

Evaluating the ups and downs of Detwiler’s age-35 season.

Miami Marlins relief pitcher Ross Detwiler (54) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the ninth inning at loanDepot Park Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Ross Detwiler was the first major league free agent signed by the Marlins once Kim Ng took over as general manager. He was a versatile reliever who was used occasionally in high-leverage situations. At least throughout the first half of the 2021 season, he put up average numbers and helped the bullpen (1-0, 4.19 ERA, 34.1 IP, 29 H, 1.194 WHIP, 41 SO).

As a pending free agent and with the Marlins out of playoff race, Detwiler was expected to be moved before the MLB trade deadline. However, he had a bad month of July, including two starts against the Dodgers and Nationals in which he allowed a total of 13 earned runs and seven homers. Those struggles may explain why other teams weren’t interested in giving up anything to get him.

Detwiler pitched better after the deadline, but he was eventually released by the Marlins on September 11. Later on, he signed with the San Diego Padres and pitched seven solid games for them (1-0, 2.57 ERA, 7.74 FIP, 6 SO, 1.143 WHIP).

Overall, Detwiler did make an impact with the Marlins as a veteran presence and innings-eater. If anything, the issue was how he was used. Fish Stripes’ own Isaac Azout pointed out that he was repeatedly kept in games longer than he should’ve been and opposing batters took advantage of that. After the deadline passed, the lefty’s appearances were all one inning or less—maybe it’s not a coincidence that he had success in that role. That being said, getting released wasn’t a happy ending for him.

A reunion with Miami for the 2022 season is always possible, but Detwiler shouldn’t be a high priority for the Marlins. Turning 36 years old in March, he might still be on the free agent market deep into the offseason, willing to accept a minor league contract (assuming he doesn’t retire). You can’t blame him if he tries to sign with an established competitive team instead.