Apr 2, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Tyler Collins (18) at bat against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
According to multiple reports — like this one from MLive’s James Schmehl — the Detroit Tigers have optioned rookie outfielder Tyler Collins to Toledo to make room for the addition of right-handed relief pitcher Justin Miller.
"Collins was optioned to Triple-A Toledo to clear a spot on the 25-man roster for Miller, who was officially called up from the Mud Hens on Friday, the team announced."
I don’t generally love the idea of a 13-man bullpen, but Collins wasn’t getting used as it was (and it’s not clear that he’s even a better option than Don Kelly), and the Tigers could use another option in the bullpen so maybe it makes sense for now in this instance.
Miller got off to a great start with the Toledo Mud Hens. Small sample size warnings abound, but through his first four appearances (4.2 IP), Miller struck out 31% of the 19 batters he faced and issued just a single walk. Chances aren’t great that he’s the magical golden ticket to bullpen stability, but Detroit isn’t really in a position to not take a look at every feasible option, especially options with the minor league strikeout pedigree of the 27-year old Miller.
I don’t think Collins is getting sent out because he’s failed — he hasn’t been given the chance to fail — I think he’s getting sent down because manager Brad Ausmus hasn’t found regular playing time for him. The organization would rather get him regular plate appearances down in Toledo than languish on the bench and maybe play once or twice a week. For now Rajai Davis is performing well enough versus both righties and lefties that the team probably feels comfortable jettisoning one of their two marginal left-handed hittin outfielders.