Milwaukee Brewers Sign Neal Cotts

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The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly agreed to a one year deal with left handed relief pitcher, Neal Cotts.  The deal will reportedly be of the Major League variety, and will pay the 34 year old $3 mil. Cotts was in Milwaukee for a “hands-on” physical today, as Ken Rosenthal noted, and he passed. This is no small feat, as Cotts has previously had Tommy John surgery and four hip surgeries that caused him to be absent from the majors between 2010-2012.

Cotts has played in the Majors in nine different seasons, splitting time with White Sox, Cubs, and most recently the Rangers. He’s posted a career 4.05 ERA in 380 career innings, with a FIP of 4.25. He’s had issues with the long ball in his career, as well as issues with walks, posting a strikeout-to-walk rate only slightly better than 2-to-1. He posted a ridiculous 1.11 ERA in 2013, but took a step back last year with a 4.32 ERA in 66.2 innings. His FIP of 3.58 was more palatable, but his very low 34.7% ground ball rate doesn’t bode well at Miller Park.

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Cotts will add another left handed arm coming out of the bullpen for the Brewers.  After losing Zach Duke and Tom Gorzelanny this off season, the Brewers were in need of another lefty to help Will Smith, who had been the only left hander ticketed for the Brewers bullpen to this point. Cotts comes with a curious career split, however: he’s actually been better against righties than lefties in his career. His career OPS against is .754 against lefties verse a .703 mark against righties, and these splits were even more pronounced last year with lefties putting up a .775 mark verse only a .680 mark against righties.

General Manager Doug Melvin made comments earlier this week that the Brewers were still in the market for relievers. Milwaukee has been linked to Jonathan Papelbon and Francisco Rodriguez recently, but given that money was already an issue, it seems pretty unlikely a Papelbon deal will end up going through. Cotts will need to be added to the 40 man roster, which means that someone will have to be exposed to waivers. My guess is that Hector Gomez could be the odd man out, given the presence of utilitymen Elian Herrera and Luis Sardinas on the 40 man roster. The Brewers are expected to officially announce the deal tomorrow.

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