December 2 is the deadline for teams to either tender a contract to arbitration-eligible players, or non-tender them, effectively letting them go. The Royals began the off-season with ten arbitration-eligible players, but have already released infielder Jayson Nix and traded pitcher Aaron Crow, leaving decisions on Lorenzo Cain, Tim Collins, Danny Duffy, Jarrod Dyson, Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas. All of these are no-brainers to tender a contract except one - Tim Collins.
The twenty-five year old Collins had a career-worst season in 2014, posting a 4.15 ERA through June before being demoted to Omaha for most of the rest of the year. He came back in September and ended the year with a 3.86 ERA in 21 innings with 15 strikeouts and 11 walks, and pitched well enough to make the Royals post-season roster. Collins is a four-year veteran with the Royals, posting a 3.54 ERA, but a 3.89 FIP. He is attractive as a reliever because he has struck out well over a hitter per inning in his career, but also suffers from a lack of command as he has walked 5.2 hitters per nine innings in his career.
Collins has a reverse split in his career, so its not clear he could be used as a left-handed specialist. MLB Trade Rumors projects Collins to have a salary of $1.5 million. The Royals aren't likely to save a ton of money in letting him go, and Collins has been useful in past season. They could also see how the market plays out, see how Collins responds to spring training, and if need be they can cut him in March and only be obligated to pay a sixth of Collins' salary.
Should the Royals tender the diminutive left-hander a contract?