There was always going to be a casualty or two on Wednesday when the A’s had to make decisions on their 40-man roster. With no spaces left and at least one prospect (pitcher Daulton Jefferies) having to be added or risk being snaffled away in the Rule 5 draft, someone needed to make way to make room.
That someone was Jharel Cotton, who was designated for assignment and subsequently traded for “cash considerations” (MLB’s hilariously quaint transaction term for money) to the Chicago Cubs.
It was an understandable decision, but a bit of a sad one too.
The little run Cotton went on at the end of 2016 after being acquired from the Dodgers, not least his seven-inning start at the Coliseum in a win against the Texas Rangers, gave hope that we’d unearthed another good player, and the sort of good player that fans really latch on to.
Everyone can take a big interest in a star player, regardless of what team they support. It’s often the players that have their faults, but give their all for our team, that fans really take a shine to, in many ways because they are unheralded by everyone else. No one was looking at Cotton to be a front-line starter, but he had the potential to be a good back-of-the-rotation guy who we could call our own for 4 or 5 years.
I still think he has that potential, just that he won’t be trying to fulfil it in an A’s uniform.
2017 came with plenty of learning pains, but it was the pain in his right elbow during Spring Training in 2018 that really set him back. His recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery seemed to go okay and it was an unfortunate hamstring injury that derailed him from making a Big League return in the second-half of the 2019 season, unimpressive Minor League numbers being worth noting yet also being worth put into the context of his ongoing return to full health.
Hopefully he’ll get a chance to pitch in the Majors with the Cubs in 2020 and to get his career back on track. So long, Squeaky!