The Brewers announced that the club has traded reliever Neal Cotts to the Twins for a player to be named or cash considerations. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Friday afternoon that Cotts had been claimed on revocable waivers.
Cotts, 35, put up a 3.28 ERA with a 48/17 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings of relief for the Brewers. He signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Brewers at the end of January, coming off of a mediocre 2014 campaign with the Rangers.
Cotts, a veteran of 10 seasons, has a career 3.96 ERA. He is carrying a significant platoon split this season, allowing an .847 OPS to right-handed hitters but only .576 to lefties.
Left-hander Cesar Jimenez, who was designated for assignment by the Phillies, has been claimed off waivers by the Brewers.
Jimenez is a 30-year-old journeyman reliever, so it’s a low-wattage move, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Brewers may be looking to trade setup man Neal Cotts and, if that happens, they could view Jimenez as a southpaw bullpen fill-in.
Jimenez has a 4.15 ERA in 85 career innings as a big leaguer and has also spent parts of 10 seasons (yes, 10 seasons) at Triple-A posting a 3.85 ERA.
The Brewers finalized a one-year, $3 million contract with veteran left-handed reliever Neal Cotts on Friday, but they are still in the market for a closer.
Jonathan Broxton currently projects to be the team’s closer for 2015, but Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com yesterday that they would still like to add “another veteran presence” if possible. There are a handful of options out there, including Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano on the free agent market and Jonathan Papelbon via trade. However, the Brewers aren’t currently interested in Soriano and it appears that trade talks for Papelbon don’t have much momentum at the moment.
“I can’t really handicap it for you,” Ash said. “One step in one area forces you to go in another direction.”
Asked to characterize talks with the Phillies for Papelbon, Ash said, “It’s there, but not much has happened lately.”
Trading for Papelbon would be complicated, as he’s owed $13 million this season and his contract carries a $13 million option for 2016 which vests if he finishes 48 games this season. The Brewers are on Papelbon’s no-trade list, so he will likely ask for the option to be guaranteed in order to approve a deal. The Phillies would presumably have to kick in some cash to make it feasible.
Papelbon has remained plenty effective despite diminished velocity, posting a 2.04 ERA and 63/15 K/BB ratio over 66 1/3 innings last season while going 39-for-44 in save opportunities.
Lefty reliever Neal Cotts signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Brewers yesterday. What many don’t know about Cotts is that he almost hung up his spikes before signing a minor league deal with the Rangers going into the 2012 season, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
As Haudricourt explains, Cotts had four procedures done on his hip and he also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009. He was never sure he’d ever return to the mound, and even if he did, if he’d be effective. In 31 2/3 innings with Triple-A Round Rock in 2012, Cotts posted a 4.55 ERA.
The Rangers brought him back on another minor league deal in 2013, and he flourished, finishing the season with a 1.11 ERA in 57 innings in the big leagues. He was able to use his success to earn $2.2 million in arbitration heading into 2014. Cotts struggled this past season, putting up a 4.23 ERA in 66 2/3 innings.
Cotts turns 35 at the end of March. He’ll be an important piece of the Brewers’ righty-heavy bullpen going into the 2015 season. As a pitcher who has overcome so many injuries, he will be an easy guy to root for.