Collins, 28 in June, is no stranger to the AL Central after spending parts of the past four seasons with the Tigers. The former sixth-round pick (2011) at times looked like he could lock down a fairly significant role in Detroit. The 2015 campaign saw Collins take 207 plate appearances with the big league club and post a solid, if unspectacular .266/.316/.417 slash. At the very least, the Tigers’ confidence in his ability to play all three outfield spots made him a candidate to stick around as a fourth outfielder.
From 2016-17, though, Collins’ offensive production tumbled in significant fashion (.213/.291/.357) — a decline that prompted the Tigers to designate him for assignment midway through the 2017 campaign. Collins cleared waivers and stuck with the organization, returning later in the year only to be outrighted once again in October, at which point he filed for minor league free agency.
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While Collins clearly doesn’t have much in the way of MLB success under his belt, he did hit .288/.358/.462 in Triple-A this past season. At the very least, he’ll give the Royals a depth option for an outfield that looks anything but settled. With Lorenzo Cain’s likely departure via free agency, the Royals will deploy Alex Gordon in left field (in hopes of a significant rebound), while Paulo Orlando, Billy Burns, Jorge Bonifacio and Jorge Soler split up the remaining outfield reps.