This offseason seems to be about fresh starts.
On a smaller scale, depending on your perspective, the Texas Rangers were also involved in these fresh starts. The team traded two minor leaguers to the Washington Nationals for left-handed starter Ross Detwiler on the last day of the winter meetings.
Detwiler needs a fresh start.
He wants to start, but in the middle of spring training last season the Nats decided to place him in the bullpen. He participated in 47 games and compiled a 4.00 ERA. He finished tied for fifth in the NL in pitches per game in relief (22) and fifth overall in average outs per game in relief (4.0).
But Detwiler has a yearning to become a starter, and this trade allows him to do that.
“I think it’s a fresh start and a chance to start over and be a starter again,” Detwiler said. “Washington had a ton of great arms and a lot of them had success, and I felt like I was the odd man out there. Now I get to move to a team that traded for me, which means they wanted me and they can put some runs on the board and they can play defense.”
In 69 career starts, Detwiler is 17-29 with a 4.02 ERA. The most innings he’s ever pitched was 151 in 2012. The next season he was limited to just 13 starts because he endured back problems in the second half of the season.
Washington does have a boatload of talented starters and it was easy to push Detwiler to the pen. He was left off the postseason roster too, and while he didn’t request a trade, it’s pretty easy to assume he wanted to do something else.
“I don’t look at it as if (Washington) was giving me up,” Detwiler said. “I looked at it as if the Rangers really wanted me and they were willing to give up some of their prospects for me, so I’m very appreciative for both sides. I think this will be a better fit for me.”
He's part of a group of starters looking to become the No. 3 or No. 4 man in the rotation that also fields Colby Lewis, another middle-of-the-rotation type of pitcher.
Detwiler said he’s not motivated to prove people in Washington they were wrong for letting him go, understanding it’s more about the business side of baseball. If you have somebody better than the other guy, use him. The other guy gets traded, demoted or is given his unconditional release.
In Detwiler’s case, he was traded and now is presented with an opportunity to help a team looking for starting pitching in the second and third tiers of the trade and free-agent marketplace.
“It’s well-documented that he wants to start,” GM Jon Daniels said. “He’s motivated and he has internal drive, and internal motivation is usually a good thing.”