Chicago Cubs: Left-handed reliever Tim Collins elects free agency

(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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After being designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs, left-handed reliever Tim Collins has elected to pursue free agency.

It’s been an eventful few days for the Chicago Cubs in terms of roster moves. Of course, the team acquired Nicholas Castellanos and Tony Kemp ahead of the trade deadline Wednesday, but over the weekend, they also designated left-hander Tim Collins for assignment.

Collins, 29, didn’t play a major role in the Cubs bullpen this season, making just nine appearances. He pitched fairly well all told, pitching to a 3.12 earned run average. But some of his peripherals, including a 4.84 FIP, 1.385 WHIP and 1.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio were less impressive and no doubt played a role in Chicago’s decision to designate the lefty.

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Of course, they did so in order to make room for another southpaw, Derek Holland, who the team acquired over the weekend to address their need for left-handed relief depth. A former starter with a bright future, the 30-year-old seems likely to fill the LOOGY role in the Cubs pen down the stretch.

Holland has been downright dominant against left-handed hitters this year, limiting them to a .460 OPS (.177/.270/.190) – which is a stark contrast to the 1.012 OPS right-handed opponents have accrued in 2019.

Given Joe Maddon‘s proclivity for playing the matchups with his pen, don’t expect to see him do much more than lefty-on-lefty matchups in the next two months.

He’ll pair with Maddon’s go-to left-hander, Kyle Ryan, who has quietly turned in a very impressive season. He’s made 48 appearances already this season, pitching to 3.10 ERA. Over the last month, he’s held opponents to a .118 average, allowing only a pair of earned runs in 10 1/3 innings of work.

The continued development of Ryan allowed Theo Epstein to prioritize supplementing the offense with the likes of Kemp and Castellanos. The offense has been, erratic, to say the least – despite the abundance of talent on the roster.

In the month of July, Chicago batted just .247 as a team – the sixth-worst mark in the National League. Over the first two games of the current series against St. Louis, the Cubs have combined for a whopping three runs, going just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

That’s been a season-long trend, though. It’s really been nothing new. The team’s inability to take advantage of such situations makes guys like Ryan and Holland all the more valuable – and guys with control issues like Collins – expendable.

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We knew Tim Collins wasn’t going to be a major piece for this team, at least not long-term. The Cubs trimmed the fat heading into the dog days of August, designating Collins for assignement, putting Daniel Descalso on the IL and sending Robel Garcia and Addison Russell to Triple-A Iowa. It’s all hands on deck now – and it’s up to this group to perform. Simple as that.

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