In an ongoing offseason series, we'll examine some key questions facing the Rangers as they try to rebound from a disastrous 2014 season.
Back in 2013, there weren't but a handful of relief pitchers in baseball better than the AL Comeback Player of the Year candidate Neal Cotts.
The lefty put up a pristine 1.11 ERA in 57 innings of work and looked to be the anchor of the Rangers' bullpen coming back in 2014 with Joe Nathan gone and Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross pushed to the starting rotation.
Instead, Cotts was awful for much of the season and finished the year with a 4.32 ERA in 66 2/3 innings of work to go with his 2-9 record. He just wasn't good, and it wasn't up for debate. It was a shocking fall from grace for a guy who was so, so good in 2013, but it wasn't an uncommon one for a relief pitcher.
Now, as one of the club's few outright free agents, the Rangers have to make a decision on the 34-year-old lefty who will turn 35 years old just before the Rangers open the 2015 season in Oakland. As a lefty, Cotts is going to have value, but he could be had for a bit of a bargain given his failures in 2014. Both he and the club have expressed mutual interest in reuniting, so you'd have to like the Rangers' chances. It would just depend on what kind of deal Cotts wants, and whether the Rangers are willing to oblige, but I'd bet both sides try hard to make it work.