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Astros ink Cotts to minor league deal

The Astros were clearly in the market for another southpaw reliever, having recently been connected to Randy Choate.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Instead, though, Houston reached an agreement with 36-year-old lefty Neal Cotts, per Brian McTaggart:

Cotts spent the 2015 season with Minnesota and Milwaukee, tossing 63.1 solid innings of relief as he compiled a 3.41 ERA, 8.24 K/9 and 3.13 BB/9. While his splits don't necessarily scream LOOGY at you, it should be noted that his peripherals are much better against left-handed batters, and his career xFIP is more than a full run better against them, too.

His splits were better in 2015, though, with a mere .251 wOBA against lefty hitters. For the first time since Pitch F/X data has been made available, he simplified his repertoire and used his slider more than his fastball, so it's possible an adjustment helped him succeed against arm-side hitters more.

Cotts will report to camp looking to win a job in the bullpen, but he could also provide useful depth at Triple-A Fresno.