Jharel Cotton a once promising prospect for the Athletics’ is now heading to Chicago. The 27 year-old will now look to get back on track with the Cubs.
In 2016, the Oakland Athletics acquired a young right-handed pitcher by the name of Jharel Cotton. He was one of the pieces along with Grant Holmes and Frankie Montas in a trade that sent Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers. The A’s were looking to restock their system with live arms and they did just that with this trade, acquiring three right-handed arms.
Cotton was up-and-down in the minor leagues with the Dodgers. But overall graded out as a good prospect. He would immediately slide into a starters role in AAA with the Nashville Sounds after the trade.
On August 9th, 2016: Cotton would pitch a near perfect game, retiring the first 26 batters of the game. He then gave up a triple to the 27th batter to end it. He would then strikeout the next batter and finish his complete game 12-strikeout outing vs. Round Rock Express.
A call-up would come not too long after that on September 7th. He would start in five games the rest of the season going 2-0 with a dazzling 2.15 ERA. He showed a devastating change-up that left hitters off balance, and an array of pitches in his arsenal.
Many were excited to see what Cotton could provide to the rotation in the future. In 2017, things would be up-and-down for him as he battled command issues and leaving up for players to hit. He ultimately gave up 53 walks and 28 home runs.
Cotton would shuttle between Oakland and Nashville for the 2017 season. He finished 9-10 with a 5.58 ERA with the big-league club for the season. He would go into 2018 looking to work on his command issues.
That would take an immediate halt, as he was diagnosed with a UCL injury and would undergo the dreaded Tommy John surgery. This would put a stop to any progress for at least a year as he recovered.
Cotton would work his way back to pitching in 2019, but would suffer another injury. This one to his hamstring that he elected to have surgery on and would set him back again.
He would return again and pitch for the Las Vegas Aviators. The new AAA club for the A’s, and he would struggle mightily, never really getting it back together. He would go on to pitch in 18 games in 2019, only three of them were starts and finish with a 7.16 ERA over 27.2 innings.
He struggled with home runs and walks still and although his strikeout rate was up, it didn’t do much for him. But he was only one season removed from the surgery, so there was still hope.
November 20th, 2019: the Athletics’ decided enough of the experiment and DFA’d Cotton. They now had to decide whether to outright release him, trade him or if he accepted assignment. Someone was bound to take a chance on him, because his change-up still is elite and he’s still 27-years old.
Today the Chicago Cubs decided to take that chance and trade cash considerations to the A’s for the 27-year old pitcher. They will see if they can get him back on track and into the starting rotation for them.
I believe the A’s threw in the towel too quickly on Cotton, he was only one year removed from surgery. He wasn’t going to make a ton of money this year and there was a reason they traded for him and thought so highly of him.
I hope he gets his career back on track in Chicago. I wish him all the luck, he’s a great person on and off the field and works as hard as any player. $100,000 for him could prove to be an absolute steal.