The Twins announced Wednesday that they’ve added left-handers Tim Collins and Justin Nicolino on a pair of minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Beyond that, recently designated right-hander Chase De Jong cleared waivers and will remain in the organization. De Jong, like Collins and Nicolino, will be in Major League camp as a non-roster invitee.
Now 29 years old, Collins was once a key member of the bullpen for the division-rival Royals, but a pair of Tommy John surgeries kept him off the field from 2015-17. The diminutive southpaw returned to the Show this past season with the Nationals, however, totaling 22 2/3 innings with a 4.37 ERA and a 21-to-12 K/BB ratio. Collins’ 92.5 mph average fastball was only narrowly south of his pre-surgery velocity, and he posted a solid 11.6 percent swinging-strike rate to go along with a 31.7 percent chase rate on pitches out of the strike zone. Control has long been an issue for Collins, but he notched a solid 3.54 ERA with 9.4 K/9 in 211 innings prior to his injury troubles.
As for Nicolino, the former second-round pick (Blue Jays, 2010) was once viewed as a Top 100 prospect but has never lived up to that potential.