Left-hander Neal Cotts has parlayed a terrific comeback season into a $2.2 million contract for 2014.
He and the Texas Rangers avoided salary arbitration Wednesday when they reached a one-year deal after Cotts posted the lowest ERA by a reliever in franchise history.
Cotts, pitching in the majors for the first time since 2009, won a league-high eight games in relief with a minuscule 1.11 ERA. That ranked second in the majors only to the 1.09 ERA posted by Boston closer and former Rangers reliever Koji Uehara.
“A great story and an even better season,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “He was dominant from wire to wire and possibly was our most consistent guy all year. I’m thrilled for him after all he’s been through, and I’m glad we are the beneficiaries.”
The Rangers will lean heavily on Cotts in 2014. The other lefty in the bullpen, Robbie Ross, could blossom into a starter to replace Derek Holland in the rotation while he is rehabbing from microfracture surgery last week on his left knee.
Cotts, who overcame Tommy John surgery and multiple hip operations on his return to the majors, worked in 58 games despite not pitching until May 21.
First baseman/designated hitter Mitch Moreland and right-handers Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz remain eligible for arbitration. The players and the Rangers will exchange figures Friday.
Left-hander Martin Perez will be among 20 to 25 pitchers who will take the mound next week in Arlington as the Rangers hold their annual off-season pitching minicamp.
Also expected at the four-day camp, which begins Tuesday and is closed to the public, is Greg Maddux. Elected to the Hall of Fame last week, Maddux is a special assistant to Daniels and the younger brother of pitching coach Mike Maddux.