In 2011, Josh Collmenter surprised many when he earned a spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting rotation and then proceeded to win 10 games and post an ERA of 3.38.
While he was not the team’s ace that season — as that title belonged to Ian Kennedy and, to a lesser extent, Daniel Hudson — he was integral in the D-backs winning 94 games and the NL West.
He struggled some to start the 2012 season, though, and ended up being relegated to the bullpen, where he’s been very successful.
Collmenter appeared in 49 games for the D-backs in 2013 — many in a long relief — and posted a 3.13 ERA. There were some rumblings about moving him back into the rotation, but he proved to be very effective in his role and the team decided to not mess with such a good thing.
But with the D-backs 2-8 to start 2014 and struggling to get production from the rotation, it appears the team is about ready to mix things up a bit.
“We rack our brain after every ballgame, myself, [Kirk Gibson] and [Mike Harkey], and what types of things can we do here to kind of change this up,” D-backs GM Kevin Towers told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday morning. “We realize it’s April. We don’t want to panic, we don’t want the players to think we’re panicking. But to me, if things don’t get better, I think change needs to happen.”
Of the five D-backs to start a game this season, only Wade Miley has produced consistently solid results. Brandon McCarthy, Bronson Arroyo and Randall Delgado have all had their fair share of struggles, though it is Tuesday’s starter, Trevor Cahill, that seems to be on the shortest leash.
That’s what happens when you don’t get through four innings in a 7-3 loss to a division rival. Cahill has now failed to reach the fifth inning in two of his three starts this season.
“Where do we go,” Towers asked. “If you take him out, you take Delgado out. You don’t want to rush your kids right away.
“You put Collmenter back in the rotation? Believe me, we’re weighing all these things right now.”
Towers said the team will wait to see how Delgado does in his next start and then decide what to do — if anything — with regards to possibly making a change. But the idea is on the table, and if things don’t improve it will likely turn into a reality.
“The players know that, the pitchers know that,” he said. “You can’t just keep going out and getting the same kind type of results and expect you’re going to stay in the rotation.”
Short of calling up über prospect Archie Bradley, it appears the most likely person to get a crack at the rotation would, in fact, be Collmenter.
The right-hander has appeared in three games this season, pitching a total of four innings. He’s given up two earned runs while walking three and striking out one, and will need a bit of time before he would be stretched out enough to take the ball every fifth day.
The problem, though, is that the only way to do that is to plug Collmenter into games early, and that only happens if the starter struggles.
“Let’s hope that Arroyo’s start goes deep into the game and that doesn’t happen,” Towers said. “I hope it’s hard to get him lots of innings and work, but it’s a little bit more difficult when you’re trying to do it in season.
“But he’s a very valuable resource and we’re in a situation right now where the times he does get into ballgames are meaningless innings, and he’s one of our better pitchers. We feel that, hopefully in the next week or so, we’ll be able to stretch him out enough and his next inning he’ll be able to go at least five innings for us.”