When injuries and ineffectiveness crippled the starting rotation of the Arizona Diamondbacks early this season, one solution was to move Josh Collmenter out of the bullpen. While depriving the relief corps of an potent weapon, the move had to be made simply because there weren’t many other options. Collmenter’s ability to long relieve, short relieve and spot start made him one of my favorite players and certainly one of the team’s most valuable. I was hoping the transition would be a short one and that he would find himself back where he belongs. However, circumstances have dictated that the bullpen is not where he should be.
Simply put, Josh Collmenter needs to remain in the Snakes’ rotation beyond this season.
For one thing, he has earned that right. While he was brilliant in his assigned role, it is not one that any pitcher, particularly one in his prime, wants to settle for. At 28 years old, Collmenter is still young enough to advance in his career and a spot in the rotation is the way to go. More importantly, he has evolved into Arizona’s best starting pitcher in 2014. He has 9 wins and a 3.94 ERA, both club bests on a team that is 22 games under .500. At 144 innings, Collmenter is 10 1/3 innings shy of his career high set in his rookie year of 2011. The young pitchers in the organization, both in Arizona now and the ones on the way, should study how he pitches. He doesn’t mess around; he gets the sign from his catcher and then fires away. More often than not, he is throwing strikes. He has walked only 34 hitters while striking out 100.
Another reason why Collmenter needs to be part of the rotation next year is the uncertainty swirling around the staff. It would be safe to say that he will be the most dependable starter the team has. Wade Miley has regressed to the tune of a 7-10 record with a 4.30 ERA. Patrick Corbin will not return until June recovering from Tommy John surgery while Bronson Arroyo, who had the same procedure, will be back even later next year. While Vidal Nuno and Chase Anderson have pitched well at times do you trust either one of them over Collmenter? If potential rookies Archie Bradley and/or Aaron Blair make the club out of Spring Training, you still would prefer the veteran presence of Collmenter who one would assume be more consistent for a squad that will expect to rebound in 2015 and contend for a playoff spot.
Diamondbacks’ general manger Kevin Towers has been scalded for several moves such as dealing Justin Upton and Tyler Skaggs. However, he has done a commendable job signing players to team-friendly contracts. Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is one of them. Collmenter is another one. His arbitration years are locked up as he is due $1.4 million in 2015. a team option of $1.82 million in 2016 and a $2 million dollar mutual option for 2017. That’s a pretty nice bargain for one of the D’backs’ most valuable pitchers. He deserves every dollar he gets and more.