The Athletics announced Wednesday that they’ve designated right-hander Jharel Cotton for assignment and selected the contract of right-hander Daulton Jefferies from Double-A Midland. Oakland’s 40-man roster remains full.
Cotton, 27, joined the A’s alongside righties Frankie Montas and Grant Holmes in the 2016 trade that sent Josh Reddick and Rich Hill to the Dodgers. At the time, he was considered a fairly well-regarded pitching prospect and a potential long-term rotation piece, but things haven’t panned out that way. While Cotton impressed with a 2.15 ERA in 29 1/3 innings with the A’s in 2016 following that trade, he was unable to replicate that over a larger sample in 2017.
That 2017 season saw Cotton limp to a 5.58 ERA in 129 innings, due largely to an alarming 2.0 HR/9 mark. He missed the entire 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery, and his 2019 comeback season was shortened by a hamstring issue that eventually required surgical repair. At this point, it’s been more than two years since Cotton has thrown an inning in a Major League game.
Jefferies, 24, was a Competitive Balance selection (No. 37 overall) by the A’s back in 2016. He split the 2019 season between Class-A Advanced and Double-A, where he worked to a combined 3.42 ERA with an otherworldly 93-to-9 K/BB ratio in 79 innings (10.6 K/9, 1.0 BB/9). Jefferies barely pitched from 2016-18 thanks to a shoulder injury during his junior year at Cal Berkeley and Tommy John surgery in 2017. But the 2019 campaign was a resounding comeback year that has moved him firmly into the ranks of the Athletics’ most promising young arms.