Cotham isn’t being forced out of the game due to a catastrophic injury, though he has had his share of injury woes both recently and in the past. Instead, it seems, he’s not interested in continuing to endure the toll of the grind.
“For me it is time to explore how I can give back and offer value to the game of baseball in ways other than playing,” Cotham writes. “My love for the game has never been higher, I am just no longer willing to pay the emotional/physical price to rehab/play at the highest level.”
There’s no doubting the pressures and demands placed upon a player in Cotham’s situation. Over the past two years, he has bounced between the upper minors and the majors. While he was able to earn 35 MLB appearances, Cotham allowed 27 earned runs in that span and faced an uphill path to the Mariners’ active roster this year.
Cotham first cracked the bigs with the Yankees after a breakthrough 2015 season in which he threw 57 innings of 2.21 ERA ball with 9.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in the upper minors. He ended up being dealt to the Reds as part of the return for Aroldis Chapman.
While he made the Opening Day roster with Cincinnati, Cotham contributed to the team’s historically dreadful relief work. He was ultimately sidelined with shoulder inflammation and then suffered a season-ending knee injury upon his return to the minors. (That string of ailments surely brought back unwanted memories; originally a fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt, Cotham threw only 31 innings from 2009 through 2011 owing to knee and shoulder surgery.) The Reds outrighted him off of their 40-man roster in late October.