The Braves made an under-the-radar trade on Wednesday, acquiring Josh Collmenter from the Chicago Cubs for cash. The pitching staff has had the injury bug for months, and things got even worse recently with Mike Foltynewicz likely to miss a start and Williams Perez likely to miss the remainder of the season. With John Coppolella recently emphasizing that he would like to at least add two rotation arms this offseason, Perez’s days with the big league club are likely numbered. However, Collmenter may prove to be a viable candidate to earn a rotation spot if he finishes strong with the Braves.
It appears he may get his chance to start on Sunday, so the fanbase will get to see how he fares soon.
Collmenter has a mutual option with the team for 2017 at $2 million. This is a guy who has a career 3.54 ERA (4.03 ERA in 75 career starts) with the Diamondbacks. He could be a very cheap veteran option to fill a low-end rotation spot, allowing the team to spend big on other needs, such as catcher and perhaps signing an additional starter. Pairing Collmenter with a free agent such as Bartolo Colon would give the Braves’ rotation the veteran presence it so desperately needs while the young arms develop.
There is some baggage, though. Collmenter has been sidelined much of the year by shoulder inflammation, and the Diamondbacks made him return to the bullpen as a result. Arizona released Collmenter, and he signed a minor league deal with the Cubs, where he went on to start some games. Collmenter has undoubtedly been more effective out of the pen throughout his career, so one would think he can at least provide the bullpen a boost. Keep in mind this is a guy who was the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day starter at one point, and we have seen Roger McDowell extract more from less.
This is a good move by the Braves front office to get a head start on the offseason. Perhaps Collmenter ends up just having a few outings in a Braves uniform, but this is a guy who can definitely compete for a rotation spot as the youngsters fail to impress.