Mariners should claim division rival lost in Rule 5 shuffle

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 01: Starting pitcher Jharel Cotton #45 of the Oakland Athletics reacts after striking out Ketel Marte of the Seattle Mariners to end the fourth inning at Safeco Field on October 1, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 01: Starting pitcher Jharel Cotton #45 of the Oakland Athletics reacts after striking out Ketel Marte of the Seattle Mariners to end the fourth inning at Safeco Field on October 1, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /
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While the focus of yesterday was on the prospects being added to their 40-man rosters to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, several players were removed to make room for these players, including one old Mariners foe.

Yesterday a lot of dreams came true as prospects throughout the game moved one step closer towards their ultimate goals. However, this also means countless other players lost their job in the shuffle. And one of these players should stand above the rest for Mariners fans.

We are talking about now-former Oakland A’s starting pitch Jharel Cotton, who was designated for assignment to make room for Daulton Jeffries on the A’s 40-man roster. Mariners fans may remember Cotton from 2016 and 2017 when he made 29 starts for Oakland.

In those 29 starts, Cotton covered 158 innings, posting a 7.28 K/9 and a 3.24 BB/9, along with a 4.95 ERA and a 0.6 fWAR. So no, he wasn’t great. But where the interest in Cotton could lie is in his raw goods.

When last healthy, Cotton possessed an elite changeup, coupled with an above-average fastball and cutter. Cotton also has 4-years of club control remaining and despite missing all of 2018 recovering from Tommy John and most of 2019 with a hamstring injury, he is just 28-years-old.

Cotton’s blend of youth, stuff, and relative MLB success should make him interesting to a lot of teams this winter, particularly ones in rebuild mode like the Mariners. Seattle has the opportunity to add Cotton, help him work his way back and possibly get valuable innings out of him for a potential trade down the line.

If the stuff is back to his 2017 self, there is more than enough evidence to suggest a positive return on investment for Cotton, who as of now, costs nothing more than a spot on your 40-man roster.

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And since the Mariners currently have 5 open spots, this could be a no brainer add for Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto. Seattle loses nothing by claiming the talented righty. If he doesn’t work out or you need the 40-man spot, you waive him. If he returns to his previous form, you very well may be able to trade him and gain talent for your competitive window.

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