Milwaukee Brewers Trade LHP Neal Cotts to Minnesota Twins
Yesterday afternoon, the news broke that an unnamed team had claimed Brewers’ reliever Neal Cotts off of revocable trade waivers. Late last night, the situation was resolved as Milwaukee announced they had traded the lefty to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later or cash.
The Brewers signed Cotts to a one-year, $3 mil contract this past winter, hoping that he would be the second lefty in their bullpen while they competed for the NL Central crown. Like the team as a whole, however, Cotts got off to a disappointing start in 2015, allowing 12 earned runs through his first 21.2 innings pitched in April and May. Over the last three months, however, Cotts has been terrific, allowing just six earned runs in his last 28.0 innings. Neal has struggled a bit with the home run ball, allowing nine so far this year at a rate of 1.6 HR/9. All-in-all, he’s been a solid contributor to Milwaukee’s bullpen:
49.2 IP || 18 ER || 49 K || 17 BB || 1.23 WHIP || 42.2% GB rate || 3.26 ERA || 0.8 rWAR
Cotts has been particularly effective against lefties this season, despite posting a reverse platoon split throughout most of his career. Southpaws have hit just .179/.230/.346 off the 35 year old this season, and Cotts figures to lock down a specialist role in the Twins’ bullpen for the remainder of the season as Minnesota hopes to compete for a playoff spot.
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By trading Cotts, the Brewers free themselves from the roughly $720K remaining on his contract for this season. The Brewers will also be able to recoup a player to be named later, which could end up being a solid contributor in the future, as Michael Blazek has shown this season. If Milwaukee isn’t offered a player they like, they can always just tack additional cash on to the deal and call it a day.
This move opens up a roster spot in the bullpen for 30 year old Cesar Jimenez, claimed of waivers from Philadelphia yesterday. The lefty has been up and down between the majors and minors over the last three seasons for the Phillies, generally posting strong results: he owns a 2.48 ERA in 36.1 innings with Philadelphia. He’s only made three appearances with the big league club this season but has been having a solid campaign in AAA, posting a 3.61 ERA, 3.62 FIP, and four saves in 57.1 innings, striking out 40 batters versus 18 walks. Jimenez is arbitration eligible, and he will have the next six weeks or so to show the Brewers enough to offer him arbitration this winter.