Royals southpaw Tim Collins underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday and will miss the 2015 season, tweets the Kansas City Star’s Andy McCullough. The operation was a known possibility after an MRI last week revealed damage to his ulnar collateral ligament.
The 25-year-old Collins has been a fixture in the Royals’ bullpen over the past four years since being acquired in a trade that sent Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth to the Braves. In 211 career innings — all with Kansas City — Collins has a 3.54 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9. Though he’s struggled with his control, clearly, he’s also held opponents to a .226 average in his career and been reasonably effective against both right- and left-handed batters. Collins also missed much of the 2014 season with a strained flexor tendon in his throwing elbow.
The loss of Collins for the year likely opens an opportunity for a non-roster invitee or perhaps top prospect Brandon Finnegan to earn a slot in manager Ned Yost’s bullpen. The Royals may want to continue developing Finnegan, their first-round pick from 2014, as a starter in the Minors, but he did surface as a strong bullpen option for Yost late last season and into the playoffs.
Franklin Morales, Joe Paterson and Chris Dwyer are all non-roster options that are in camp with the Royals. Of that group, Morales has far and away the most big league experience, though Paterson does have 40 Major League innings to his credit. Other options that are already on the 40-man roster include Brian Flynn, who was acquired in the Aaron Crow trade with the Marlins this winter, and former top prospect John Lamb. Both Lamb and Flynn are typically deployed as starters, though that certainly doesn’t preclude them from being converted to the bullpen.