One of the non-roster signings by the Washington Nationals this past week is former Royals reliever Tim Collins
This past week, the Washington Nationals made a few more minor league signings with non-roster invitees to spring training this February. One of the players who received an invite was veteran right-handed reliever Tim Collins, who has only played with the Kansas City Royals during his career. Collins hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2014 and has had two Tommy John surgeries on his left elbow during that time.
The 27-year-old left-hander was signed as a free agent by the Blue Jays back in 2007. Three years later, he was a part of two trades within a 17-day period. On July 14, 2010, he was dealt to the Braves for former Nats infielder Yunel Escobar and pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes. Then, on July 31, he was traded to Kansas City in the deal that sent former Nats outfielder Rick Ankiel and reliever Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta.
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For his first two seasons with the Royals, Collins finished in the top ten in appearances both of those years. In 2012, he had 72 appearances, which was a career high (tenth in the American League), had a career-low ERA of 3.36, and 93 strikeouts.
In 2014, Collins appeared in only 22 games, but he did make the Royals postseason roster as the team made their run to the American League pennant. He pitched in four playoff games (three in the World Series) and gave up two earned runs in Game 4 against the San Francisco Giants.
Over the course of his career, Collins has had an average velocity of near 93 miles per hour on his fastball to go with a curveball and changeup (according to Fangraphs).
Back in 2014, teams hit .296 against Collins fastball, but had sub .200 averages against the changeup (.172, 12 strikeouts) and the breaking ball (.125, seven strikeouts), according to Brooks Baseball.
With a minor league signing, it is usually a low risk, high reward kind of deal. With Collins, the risk is his health. He had the second Tommy John surgery on his left elbow back in March, so it would seem he wouldn’t be ready to begin the season in 2017.
If Collins can get back for the second half of the season, he could be another veteran player to add to this Washington Nationals bullpen. He may not have the velocity on his fastball, but he can have success with the offspeed pitches. Hopefully Collins has a speedy recovery and get back to pitching in a Major League game for the first time since 2014 at some point in the 2017 season.