Jharel Cotton was expected to be a key part of the Oakland A’s future. Acquired as part of the package for Josh Reddick, he showed plenty of promise in a brief five game debut in 2016, but was never able to reach those heights again. Injuries kept him from returning to the majors until 2021, when he re-emerged as a reliever with the Rangers.
Now Cotton has another team. He has been claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins as they attempt to find answers in their bullpen.
Former Oakland A’s pitcher Jharel Cotton getting another chance
It seems as though it has been a lifetime since Cotton was a well regarded prospect. He showed that promise during his brief trial in 2016, posting a 2.15 ERA and a 0.818 WHiP in his 29.1 innings, striking out 23 batters with just four walks. He appeared to be a potential middle of the order arm for the A’s, someone that they could build around.
That fell apart in 2017. Cotton struggled to a 5.58 ERA and a 1.442 WHiP over his 129 innings, striking out 105 batters with 53 walks. He was done in by the longball, as he allowed 28 homers with opponents posting a .833 OPS against him.
Following his injury issues and a stint with the Cubs at their alternate site in 2020, Cotton returned to the majors as a low leverage reliever with the Rangers. He was a bit of a mixed bag when it came to results, posting a 3.52 ERA with a 1.402 WHiP in his 30.2 innings. While he struck out 30 batters, he also issued 15 walks. It was difficult to trust Cotton with those command issues.
In the end, the Twins do not need someone for the back of their bullpen. They simply need someone that can serve as a middle to long reliever, capable of eating innings should a starter struggle or get injured. Cotton could be exactly that, a depth option who has the potential to be more.
Jharel Cotton is getting another opportunity. This time, the Minnesota Twins are taking a chance on the well traveled former prospect.