For the Boston Red Sox the small signings can eventually reap rewards and could free agent Tim Collins be one such player?
There are terrible injuries in baseball and for a pitcher, the worst possible news is that you are facing Tommy John surgery. TJ takes a minimum of a year off your baseball life as your recovery and attempts to get back into a position to once again be a competent player and make some money. Then you just square that.
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Tim Collins is a free agent, a native of Worcester, Massachusetts, and has managed back-to-back TJ surgeries. Collins – a left-handed reliever – is now a free agent and has departed the Kansas City Royals after four seasons in their bullpen.
Collins is a player who was overlooked due to the fact that to far too many scouts size matter and Collins is – by baseball terms – a diminutive 5’7” and 170 pounds. Collins was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays and eventually traded to the Atlanta Braves and then to the Royals. A real traveling man.
Small does not necessarily mean a lack of throwing speed and as quick as you can say, Billy Wagner, then you can look up Collins, who consistently hits the mid-90s with his four-seam fastball. Collins also has a curveball and a change-up that he mixes in with reasonable effectiveness.
In 2012 Collins had the second most whiffs by a left-handed reliever in baseball with 93. The only one with a higher total was Aroldis Chapman and that is in a category all by himself. Collins is also quite adept at facing right-handed hitters who have a career average of .224 against his serves versus .219 for left-handers – not just a specialist.
The Red Sox bullpen is an off-season construction site as Dave Dombrowski will attempt to both replace players and make appropriate upgrades. One part of the bullpen that will get attention is those whom genetics have allowed throwing with their left hand – a necessary ingredient in the mix and match philosophy of managerial genius.
Collins is not the answer – yet. The recovery process is still taking place and Collins may or may not be ready for spring training, but this would be a low impact signing. The type of “signing” that has an invitation to spring training or a minor league deal with the usual boatload of conditions added in. What Collins is – if healthy – is an excellent bullpen piece that can pitch to right and left-hand hitters.