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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  • Wrigley Rat 8 min 14 sec ago (view)

    3 dots on this evening's Cubs-Dodgers game - makes sense & they do color in the 3rd dot as they're going to commericals (Spectrum Sportsnet).

     

  • crunch 2 hours 21 min ago (view)

    3 dot crew represent.  i didn't have an opinion, but now i'm 100% on board.

     

  • Charlie 2 hours 29 min ago (view)

    I agree on most of this, but I especially support three fillable dots for the outs--and fill in the third before cutting to a commercial!

    Not doing homework on the players in a Spring Training broadcast is pretty forgiveable, but ESPN is really bad about it pretty much all year. It would be nice if they made a habit of picking up a local color commentator and sort of interviewing them throughout games.

     

  • George Altman 6 hours 32 min ago (view)

    The single thing I want in a sports broadcast is to become smarter about the sport,  to learn something from the broadcast crew.

    Stone does that, Romo does that, Eddie O on hockey, and that's about it. I watch sporting events with the sound down very low or off. I forgot more about baseball than most broadcasters will ever know, and I'm always shocked when I see something in a football game that the crew doesn't,  and I know about NOTHING about football. 

     

  • First.Pitch.120 8 hours 52 min ago (view)

    Also... what is with only having 2 dots as the outs counter? I know that you don't really need the 3rd dot, but I find it counter-intuitive. If the dots fill in, then only having 2 throws me off b/c it's natural to subitize "3" associated with outs. You quickly see 0/3, 1/3, 2/3.  If the graphic does not have fill-in dots, then just put the #.  eg - OUTS: 1  It's minimalism for the sake of minimalism, not graphic design for effective communication.

     

  • crunch 9 hours 23 min ago (view)

    tight shots + insane amount of screen real estate being taken up with graphics is a bit of a plague...especially the ones with a non-stop bottom news ticker.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 9 hours 45 min ago (view)

    General comment on baseball broadcasting... I think that the color comentator (CC) needs to talk about 30% more & the PBP about 30% less. I would love a more stream of consciousness from the CC outlining what they would be looking for in a given situation. To that end, why not have 2 CC for national broadcasts - one a pitcher & one a position player. Would love for them to banter back & forth on micro strategy from their perspectives. I think this would turn the game's pauses between action into more of an asset.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 9 min ago (view)

    brews sign j.bradley 2/24m...decent deal for a quality CF'r.  he can opt out of the 2nd year.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 48 min ago (view)

    the national broadcasts on ESPN suffer badly from a lack of "homework" on the teams they're covering.

    yesterday i heard more riffing between the announcers about each other more than the players.  the only thing that saved them from more of that and dead air was in-progress action and player interviews (too many player interviews, but it's spring so whatever).

     

  • Hagsag 14 hours 24 min ago (view)

    Not impressed with ESPN's broadcast. I like Mendoza's work, but how many kids did we have to see rolling around the grass. Good day to see some young players ,but half the time you had no idea who was batting or pitching.

     

  • crunch 23 hours 16 min ago (view)

    cubs game totally not a delay broadcast for ESPN...thanks for that gem heyward.

    dunno if they'll be printing up any "You better have your shit in line" t-shirts, but it's as least as good as "Try not to suck"

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    Jason Adam is another who throws short arm. I don't think he was a position player, but maybe falls into the arm injury category?

     

  • Sonicwind75 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Thanks Phil, these pitching summaries are great!

     

  • Eric S 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Thanks, AZ Phil.  Looks like a better use of the off-season by Maples than Carl Jr's hop-in-delivery was a few years ago - and not against the rules either. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Even though he is signed to a minor lesague contract and is not on the MLB 40-man roster right now, I would think Eric Sogard is a virtual lock to make the Cubs Opening Day Active List 26-man roster. 

    The Cubs were reportedly looking to sign a left-handed hitting second-baseman, and Sogard certainly fits that description. And unlike Jason Kipnis, Sogard has the versatility to play 3B and SS as well as 2B. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    ERIC: Just as you said, the short-arm technique can improve command, hopefully without impacting the quality of a pitcher's stuff.

    Based on what I saw yesterday, Maples' stuff is as good as ever, and his command was better, too. Hopefully it will continue, because he probably has the best pure stuff on the staff. Command has always been the problem.