The Tigers are set to hit the road for an interleague series against the Washington Nationals. Leading up to the move, the team had no dedicated backup outfielder for center field and with Andrew Romine serving as a backup in emergency situations only, the team had no choice but to add Collins.
Ideally, the goal was to activate Cameron Maybin from the disabled list, but after playing his first game in center field on Saturday, the organization felt that Maybin wasn't recovered enough to resume his role in center on a regular basis.
Maybin has had a disappointing season recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in the offseason when he slipped and fell on ice at home. Then, in spring training, a hit by pitch kept him on the DL when his left wrist was fractured and he had to wait for that to heal.
To make matters worse, Maybin re-injured his shoulder while making a diving catch during a rehab game. Mud Hens manager Lloyd McClendon recently said he didn't feel as though Maybin had progressed to the point where he could regularly play center because of his slow-healing shoulder. The injury hasn't affected his ability to bat, but throwing has been another story.
With the continued absence of Maybin, the Tigers made the next-best move in bringing Collins back to Detroit. While he won't be in the lineup every day, he can play decent defense and his bat has some pop. With the way the bullpen has been performing these last few days, it's going to take more than one fresh bat to iron out the mess.
Farmer is one bullpen arm that has performed well in his limited relief outings. A starter by trade, he'll be going back to Toledo to resume his role, which is why fans didn't see him in the latter innings on Sunday. He's trekked back and forth between the Mud Hens and Detroit a couple of times already this year, and while with Detroit has a 3.68 FIP in 8 1/3 innings pitched.
His ERA may be 2.16 but he's still developing as a pitcher -- regardless of his role -- and the command isn't quite there. Either way, Farmer will need to strengthen his stuff before being entrusted with more than mop-up duties or limited outings. For that to happen, he needs time in Toledo and right now the Tigers need Collins' bat -- and preferably, Maybin back for good.