Jharel Cotton is a 27-year-old righthander who had Tommy John surgery in March 2018. He returned to pitch in the Athletics farm system, making 14 appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas. The A’s designated him for assignment on Wednesday.
Saturday, the Cubs announced they had acquired Cotton from the A’s for cash considerations.
Cotton was the Dodgers’ 20th-round pick in the 2012 draft and was sent to the A’s in 2016 in the deal that sent Rich Hill to L.A. Cotton made 29 starts for Oakland in 2016 and 2017 and posted a 4.95 ERA and 1.326 WHIP, with 128 strikeouts in 158⅓ innings. Per Fangraphs, in those 29 starts his fastball averaged 93.4 miles per hour, but he also relied heavily on his changeup.
Clearly, this is another acquisition for starting-pitcher depth. Cotton will turn 28 in January, which is still younger than anyone in the Cubs’ current starting rotation. If he can get back to 100 percent health, he’ll be in the mix for the fifth-starter role and if he doesn’t make it there, he’ll head up the rotation at Iowa. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs try to get him through waivers later this offseason.
With this acquisition, the Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 37.
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