Milwaukee Brewers: Is there a link to Jharel Cotton?

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jharel Cotton
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jharel Cotton /

The Milwaukee Brewers are searching high and low for another starting pitcher to round out their rotation. Could that search include Jharel Cotton from the Oakland A’s?

Rumors out of Ken Rosenthal’s latest for the Atlantic links the Milwaukee Brewers to the Oakland A’s and Jharel Cotton. How serious is their interest, and is Cotton the missing piece in the Brewers rotation?

How did Jharel Cotton fare in 2017?

Well, Cotton threw 129 innings with the Oakland A’s in 2017, and posted a 0.0 WAR. He was the ‘R’. Cotton wasn’t actually that bad, but the numbers don’t like him very much. His strikeout and walk numbers weren’t that bad. He posted a K/9 over 7.00, but he also managed a BB/9 over 3.50.

The real reason Cotton struggled was the home runs he allowed. He gave up 28 home runs in 129 innings. Well, maybe he did really well in Oakland, but struggled on the road? Nope. 18 of them came in the Oakland Coliseum.

Why would the Brewers want Cotton?

Giving up that many homers in a pitcher’s park doesn’t bode well for Cotton in Miller Park, does it? Not really, no. If the Milwaukee Brewers deal for Cotton, they’re investing in his skills. His cutter and change were quality pitches during his cup of coffee in 2016. If Cotton can rediscover his feel for both of those pitches, he could develop into a quality mid-rotation starter.

What would a deal for Cotton look like?

If it takes more than Keon Broxton, Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns is doing this wrong. Cotton’s value is at a low point after his 2017 campaign. There’s no way that he costs any of the Brewers remaining top prospects.

Next: Is Lance Lynn still a target for the Brewers?

If the Milwaukee Brewers are truly ‘all-in’ for 2018, they need to aim higher than Cotton. He’s not a better option than any of the starters the Brewers will have in camp. Hearing that the Brewers are linked to Cotton this late in the off season indicates that they’re still casting a wide net. They may be better off focusing on a contract for Alex Cobb or a trade for Jake Odorizzi instead of kicking the tires on players like Cotton. Pitchers and catchers report to Arizona in a few days. It’s time to stop with the ‘due diligence’ and actually hammer out a contract or a deal.