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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  • Arizona Phil 19 hours 11 min ago (view)

    Someone to keep an eye on in 2021 is RHRP (ex-1B) Jerrick Suiter. 

    He was selected by the Cubs from the Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft and the Cubs  immediately converted him from a mediocre AA first-baseman to a full-time pitcher, having seen him throw garbage innings in blow-outs for the Pirates AA Altoona affiliate in 2019.

     

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

    Good to see Roederer and Velasquez  providing some production. From what I've followed they haven't been up to much. Granted this season isn't great for development

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have added OF Brennen Davis to their AZIL Active List roster. 

     

  • crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    "He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable."

    reggie golden flashblacks...if BP was a game he'd be an all-star.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    Unfortunately for the Cubs, all of their Top 10 position-player prospects (M. Amaya, Davis, Hearn, Howard, Made, C. Morel, R. Morel, Quintero, Roederer, and Strumpf -- listed alphabetically) are two or more years away from the big leagues, in most cases more like three or four or even five years away. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    TIM: One of the things people wonder about when they see a young shortstop for the first time is does he have the arm and range necessary to play SS or would his tools maybe be better suited for 2B, 3B or OF. So far at Instructs Kevin Made has shown all of the attributes of a SS, and he is an advanced hitter (for his age) as well. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    AZBOBBOP: Ethan Hearn showed off his plus-arm by back-picking a runner off 1st base last week. You don't see catchers with the confidence to attempt pick-offs much out here. 

    He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable. His hitting (contact and barreling) has improved at instructs, and that's one of the things he needed to improve.

    His receiving should improve with experience as well. 

     

  • azbobbop 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Phil, saw Ethan Hearn with a couple of hits today. How has he been trending?

     

  • tim815 2 days 13 hours ago (view)

    That Kevin Made is already representing offensively seems, on the 1 to 10 scale with 10 being fantastic news, in the 17 or 18 range.

    Nwogu in the 9 to 11 span.

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    For those of you wondering about catcher Ronnier Quintero (the Cubs #1 IFA signing in the 2019-20 ISP), he participates fully in pre-game and Camp Day work-outs and he catches bullpens, and while he has been the bullpen catcher at every AZIL game he has not yet played in a game.

    As a catcher he has a lot to learn, and the Cubs would prefer that Quintero mainly concentrates on receiving and learning how to work with pitchers right now. He can learn about hitting and baserunning later. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    In adition to the 22 pitchers originally on the Cubs AZIL Active List roster plus RHP Manuel Rodriguez (right biceps strain last March) and LHP Brad Wieck (wearing a brace on his left knee) who are on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL and are rehabbing at AZIL, the Cubs have added four additional pitchers to their AZIL Active List roster:  

    RHP Josh Burgmann 
    RHP Chris Clarke 
    LHP D. J. Herz
    RHP Michael McAvene 

     

  • Charlie 4 days 4 hours ago (view)

    This is weird. He seemed well liked and shifting him to another role would've made just as much sense.

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 9 hours ago (view)

    I'd say the only guys who struggled all season were Baez and Bryant. Willson struggled for a lot of August but was one of the few who hit in September. Most of the team hit well in 2019 (including Baez and Bryant before injuries derailed them). I don't know if there's any reason to blame Ipoce in particular for the September slump. 

     

  • crunch 4 days 22 hours ago (view)

    iapoce expected to stay.  i'm surprised.  i know it's a weird/short season, but it was a season-long slump for a lot of guys and answers weren't showing up.

     

  • crunch 4 days 23 hours ago (view)

    i eagerly await the espn 10 part mini-series "Rafael Palmeiro, More Like Rafael Baseballmerio" covering those 28 legendary games.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 23 hours ago (view)

    In fairness those 28 games he played at 1B were breathtaking that year