This sounded very reasonable to me and quite frankly once Cotts became a free agent I never thought Jon Daniels would re-sign him. So, I was a bit surprised when a few fans questioning why the club won’t sign the lefty.
Well, maybe I can help with the reason(s) behind JD’s decision and refresh your memory on Neal Cotts’ not-so-great performances with Texas.
Call to the Pen
BEFORE JOINING TEXAS: In July 2009 Cotts, then 29-years old, underwent successful Tommy John surgery and as a result missed the entire 2010 season recovering. He signed a minor league deal in November 2010 with the New York Yankees, but was released on February 16, 2011 and did not pitch the rest of the season.
Enter the Rehabilitation and Rescue Team, a.k.a. Texas Rangers.
IN THE BEGINNING: Neal Cotts first signed with Texas in February 20, 2012. He was originally assigned to minor league training camp but joined the major league camp by the end of the month. Cotts posted a 4.22 ERA (5 ER/10.2 IP) in 9 spring training appearances. He was expected to break camp with the team, however, he began the season on the Round Rock Express (AAA) disabled list after he suffered a strained left lat muscle on March 31. That gave the Rangers another reason to sign him for the 2013 season.
THE BEST OF COTTS: 2013 is the season I think most Rangers fans remember Neal Cotts as a great reliever. When the Texas Rangers purchased his contract
Jul 4, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Neal Cotts (56) throws to first during the game against the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Texas won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
from the Express on May 21, 2013 Cotts made his Texas debut the same day. He entered the 9th inning against the Oakland Athletics taking the side down in order on only 6 pitches. Cottsy earned 4 of the Texas Rangers’ 7 wins between June 5-21 and shared June Player of the Month honors with bullpen mate Joe Nathan.
Cotts finished the season posting a 1.11 ERA, the lowest relief ERA in franchise history. He also led the American League with 8 relief wins, tied most in the majors.
I completely understand wanting this Neal Cotts in the 2015 bullpen. However let’s take a look at 2014 before we roast JD, again.
THE WORST OF COTTS: Although the Illinois native led the Texas Rangers with a career-high 73 appearances in 2014 he ended the season 3rd on staff for games finished with 18. Cotts posted a record of 2-9 with a 4.32 ERA allowing 32 runs in 66.2 innings pitched. He was 2nd in the majors with 9 relief losses, and he had 7 blown saves dropping his final 6 decisions.
Now, I’m not saying Neal Cotts is the worst reliever ever, because we all know he isn’t. All I’m saying is that even though the Rangers need more arms in the bullpen it is perfectly understandable for the club to look elsewhere for that left-handed specialist. Who knows, maybe one of the non-roster invitees – LHP Michael Kirkman, RHP’s Ross Wolf and Keone Kela – will earn a spot in the bullpen. And if they don’t I faith that Jon Daniels, or really good scouts, will find the gem the Rangers need.