The Oakland A’s traded pitcher Jharel Cotton to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, the team announced. In exchange, the A’s received cash considerations from the Cubs.
Cotton last pitched in the majors in 2017, before undergoing Tommy John surgery the following spring. He returned to minor league action this summer, but got knocked around in a couple dozen innings of work and wasn’t able to make his way back up to the bigs. He was designated for assignment by Oakland on Wednesday to make room for other needs on the 40-man roster.
Cotton, 2019 A+/AAA: 7.16 ERA, 27⅔ ip, 33 Ks, 12 BB, 8 HR, 6.43 FIP
The right-hander was once a highly promising prospect. He was acquired by the A’s from the Dodgers in the Reddick/Hill deadline trade of 2016 and enjoyed a strong MLB debut in five September starts to finish that year, earning him the No. 4 ranking on our 2017 preseason Community Prospect List. But he struggled to a 5.58 ERA in ‘17, with a mammoth home run rate, a mediocre strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a 5.68 FIP. His career numbers, in 29 starts:
Cotton, 2016-17 OAK: 4.95 ERA, 158⅓ ip, 128 Ks, 57 BB, 32 HR, 5.32 FIP
Despite the tough times over the last couple seasons, Cotton will still be just 28 years old next summer, and his changeup was extremely highly regarded before his injury. He’s a quality lotto ticket who could give the Cubs strong value if he can bounce back from his long injury layoff and put his tools together into production, and all it costs them to roll the dice is a 40-man roster spot.
It’s a bummer that it didn’t work out for Cotton in Oakland, but best of luck to him in Chicago!