Big Hat Tip to @SpiltScotch. Since we reported on Atlanta’s pursuit of pitching yesterday – Jon Lester/Andrew Miller – those lines have gone cold. Frigid, even. As of this point, it seems that St. Louis and Pittsburgh are both fighting for Jon Lester, with the Cardinals also looking at David Price. MLBTR is reporting from multiple sources that the Dodgers are also strongly in the mix with other teams also hanging around.The Braves, for their part, clearly are not willing to blow significant farm system assets for these guys, given uncertainty about how long they might be with the organization. That is undoubtedly leading to an impasse in any discussions that might be in progress with the Red Sox, for in the case of Jon Lester, Boston certainly wants enough back to cover their loss of a compensation pick for letting him go now.
Thus, Atlanta continues to beat bushes elsewhere. And that introduction leads us to this morning’s rumor:
— Spilt Scotch (@SpiltScotch) July 30, 2014
This would make sense: Cotts is 34, left-handed, and is having a solid year for Texas… even if the Rangers aren’t. Neal was originally a second round pick (2001, Oakland) and has a 3.52 ERA over 46 innings this year… though that was 3.20 until last night… *oops*. His stats profile favorably to the Braves’ model: he’s got “veteran presents“, he strikes out at least one batter per inning, and he walks very few (3.5 per 9 innings).
He also keeps the ball in the park, which is noteworthy given that half his games are in Arlington. His runner stranding rate (77%) could be a little better, but that could improve with a better defense behind him (Rangers rank 28th, Braves rank 2nd according to fangraphs).
Cotts is on a 1-year deal paying $2.2 million; so he is both a “rental” and affordable to Atlanta.
The Return for Cotts?
Okay, they were scouting the Hillcats, but don’t worry: Lucas Sims is safe.
I would offer Emerson Landoni since he’s been a rather capable second baseman over the past 2 years, yet has been passed up in the pecking order by both Tommy La Stella and Jose Peraza. There are a couple of others at Lynchburg that could be helpful for Texas, but frankly, that club is a bit thin on talent and the return for Cotts should not be that high. But between La Stella, Peraza and Philip Gosselin… there’s no real future for Landoni in this organization.
The Rangers could also prefer a pitcher, and there are a couple to choose from at Lynchburg.
Eric Pfisterer could fit the bill (fail: he was released in late Spring – thank you gondeee)… maybe as high as Greg Ross or Wes Parsons, but perhaps we’ll see about that within the next 24 hours or so.