Though the trade deadline has passed, the Nationals are still looking to bolster their left-handed relief corps and are considering Neal Cotts of the Rangers, reports MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. The sides have had prior talks, but Texas has held out thus far for a better offer.
Washington expressed interest in players like Andrew Miller (then of the Red Sox, now of the Orioles) at the deadline, Ladson says, but did not pull the trigger. The club was unwilling to part with outfielder Steven Souza, who is now with the big league club and could be an important piece going forward. The Nationals have not received quite the production they hoped for from Jerry Blevins, who has been stellar against lefties but entirely ineffective against righties. And fellow lefty Ross Detwiler has improved, but still has not turned into the force that the club hoped he might be in a relief role.
Cotts is set to become a free agent and is playing on a fairly modest $2.2MM salary this year, which could make it tough for him to squeeze through waivers. (The Nationals, of course, would be behind the entire American League and all NL clubs with worse records in waiver priority.) The 34-year-old has not matched his stellar 2013 season (1.11 ERA), but has been effective enough with a 3.38 ERA, 2.97 FIP, and 9.8 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9. Cotts has actually posted reverse platoon splits, giving up a .261/.333/.412 line to same-handed hitters while holding righties to a .244/.317/.333 slash.