Astros ink Neal Cotts to minors deal

The Houston Astros signed reliever Neal Cotts to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

What It Means:

Cotts is a pretty good get on a minor league deal. He'll turn 36 next month, but the southpaw holds a 3.03 ERA with exactly a strikeout per inning over the last three seasons, and last year he limited left-handed batters to a .186/.243/.330 line. The Astros could use another lefty to pair with Tony Sipp and with a solid camp, Cotts has a chance to be that guy.

Cotts threw 63 1/3 innings last season with the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins and posted a concerning 4.31 xFIP -- 20th worst among relievers. He needs to do a better job of keeping the ball in the park in 2016. His 15.8 percent home-run-to-fly-ball ratio in 2015 was 12th highest among relievers. Becoming a lefty specialist would help as eight of the 12 home runs he allowed last season were to righties.