Cubs Pick Cotton

The Cubs have acquired the contract of RHP Jharel Cotton from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for cash considerations (probably something in excess of the $50,000 waiver price).

Cotton was Designated for Assignment by the A's last Wednesday. 

Now 27 (he turns 28 in January), Cotton was acquired by the A's from the Dodgers in the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick deal at the trade deadline in 2016 and was ranked the A's #4 prospect and a Top 100 MLB prospect by Baseball America post-2016 (he led the PCL in strikeouts, WHIP, and OppBA in 2016), but he has been sidetracked by injuries in the intervening years. He had a nagging blister issue in 2017, a torn elbow UCL that required TJS in March 2018, and then he underwent surgery to repair a torn hamstring in 2019, so he hasn't pitched in MLB since 2017. 

Cotton is a native of the U. S. Virgin Islands and attended HS in Virginia and then Miami - Dade CC (two years) and East Carolina University (one year) before being selected by the Dodgers in the 20th round of the 2012 draft. 

Back when he was healthy, Cotton featured a swing & miss plus-screwball, a FB that sat 92-94 T 95-96, an upper 80's SL/CT, and a CV, so he has the full array of pitches needed to be a starting pitcher (again... - IF - healthy). 

Cotton does have two minor league options left so the Cubs can stash him at AAA Iowa and (if healthy) he could ride the Iowa - Chicago shuttle in 2020, but because he has accrued more than three seasons of MLB Service Time, he has Article XX-D rights, which means he can elect free-agency if he were to be outrighted to the minors.

And because he has spent so much time on the A's MLB DL/IL over the past couple of seasons (two full seasons worth of MLB DL/IL time) Cotton is eligible for salary arbitration (which is probably why he got DFA'd by the A's), so he is a possible non-tender candidate on 12/2, especially if the Cubs don't want to risk going to arbitration with him if he and the club can't agree on a 2020 contract.

Keep in mind that a contract awarded via arbitration (by rule) cannot include a minor league split salary or performance bonuses, both of which may be a deal-breaker for the Cubs if they suspect Cotton will likely spend at least part of the 2020 season at AAA. It's very possible that given Cotton's recent injury history, the Cubs would prefer to pay him a low MLB base salary (like the MLB minimum) but with easily-achievable performance and/or roster bonuses if Cotton proves to be healthy and able to pitch in MLB in 2020, together with a minor league split salary (probably somewhere around $250K) if he is optioned to AAA and spends at least part of the 2020 season at Iowa.  

So the Cubs have about a week to work out something with Cotton if they are averse to possibly going to arbitration with him and potentially getting stuck with a contract they don't like.

Just as a point of information, I was at Fitch Park on March 9, 2017, the day the A's sent Cotton and Daniel Gossett (another one of their top pitching prospects at the time) to Fitch Park from their MLB camp specifically to showcase the duo for the Cubs in the two minor league Spring Training games (AA and AAA) that were played at Fitch that day (or so said one of the A's minor league pitching coaches), with Cotton starting the AAA game and Gossett starting the AA game. (The A's supposedly were interested in possibly acquiring Ian Happ from the Cubs if a deal could be worked-out). 

So the Cubs have had prior interest in acquiring Cotton.

Maybe the Cubs will go after Daniel Gossett next (he's a TJS rehabber, too). 

Comments

Looks like a pitcher to take a chance on regaining some positives.

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  • bradsbeard 11 hours 49 min ago (view)

    Things won't get easier for him pitching outside of the former AT&T park, though Chase isn't the band box it was before they installed a humidor a couple years ago. 

     

  • crunch 12 hours 45 min ago (view)

    dbacks snag m.bumgarner for 5/85m (17m/yr).

    didn't realize he'd be coming that cheaply.  the longball stung him last year, but he was healthy and his stuff looked good when it wasn't flying over a fence.

     

  • crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    MLB is very much swinging their power over minor league teams around.

     

  • tim815 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    Normally, it's because the minor fee they receive is of more value than they think they will be able to acquire later.

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    My, the negotiations for a new comprehensive agreement between MLB and MiLB are sounding nasty all of a sudden!  I'd be interested in other takes on this.  It's easy to see the risks on the MiLB side.  I wonder though, if MLB isn't playing with fire as far as the antitrust exemption goes?  In case Trump isn't president in January, 2021, the MLB owners lose a friend.  We've already heard from Sanders and Warren supporting MiLB on this -- which is pretty amazing, considering how many bigger problems this country has -- and one can guess where mayor Pete stands.

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    I'm also thinking they really didn't anticipate losing two players in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 and wanted to have more flexibility to pick guys, and they maybe figured Carrera had a better shot to go unpicked. It is a little surprising that the talent rich Rays are the ones who grabbed him. 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 23 hours ago (view)

    It's just strange because they had space. maybe they thought no one would have wanted him?

     

  • bradsbeard 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Best I can think is that maybe he was going to be squeezed out of a starting role next year with 2019 draftees and other lower level pitching pushing up into A ball. Doesn't seem like a great reason, but the pitching in the system is getting more crowded each year.

     

  • crunch 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    i truly wonder why f.carrera wasn't more of a priority.

    he throws straight up junk, but he's got great control and command over his pitchers.  he's young enough that he could find some more velocity, too.

    i mean, this is a management team that decided to trade for dan haren and kyle hendricks.  they don't have an aversion to slow-tossing starters.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 16 hours ago (view)

    Has anyone else noticed James Norwood's picture on the Cubs top 30 prospects page is actually Brandon Kintzler?

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 18 hours ago (view)

    It's always interesting to see how many players each MLB club protects on its AAA affiliate's 38-man reserve list on 11/20.

    I'm not saying it absolutely and necessarily proves what a club thinks of its own prospects, but there are 38 slots available on a AAA reserve list, and if you leave 15 slots open, I think that does say something, especially when you don't lose anybody in either the MLB Phase or in the AAA Phase. (I'm looking at you, Seattle Mariners!) 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    HAGSAG: Instructs starts next month. The pitching lab operates year round, so guys are always coming & going. 

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    Phil, when does the Instructional program begin? Are there pitchers in the pitching lab now?

     

  • cubbies.4ever 3 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Just to continue my conspiracy theory that Theo has a requirement you have TJS to pitch for the Cubs Trevor Megill had it in 2013.  The Cubs must have a support group for pitchers who have had TJS.

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 10 hours ago (view)

    After losing two players off the Iowa reserve list in the Major League Phase and selecting four players in the AAA Phase, the Iowa reserve list has one slot open, so now would be an excellent time to try and outright C. D. Pelham to AAA.

    Keep in mind that he can't elect free-agency if he's outrighted, and if he is outrighted, he won't be a minor league free-agent until post-2021.

    And if he gets claimed off waivers? No big deal.  

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 10 hours ago (view)

    LHSP Faustino Carrera and 2B Carlos Sepulveda were among the first players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico in 2014-15. The Cubs ended up signing more than two dozen more Mexican players over the next three years.