The most important news of Friday afternoon came in the form of potential bullpen help as the Astros signed lefthander Neal Cotts to a minor league deal with an invite to camp. Cotts, 35 with a birthday at the end of March, has a career 3.96 ERA to go along with a 21-24 record. With Milwaukee and Minnesota last season Cotts totaled 63.1 innings to the tune of a 3.41 ERA.
If the Astros choose to go with a seven man bullpen to begin the season, then Cotts likely finds himself on the outside looking in. The one advantage he has over other potential bullpen options is that he's a lefty, of which Houston only has only at the moment in Tony Sipp. Cotts offered a nice strikeout per nine rate of 8.24 in 2015 while his walk rate was a touch high at 3.13.
According to Jon Heyman, the deal is worth $1.5 million if he reaches the majors, and includes incentives of up to $1.25 million. Heyman also reports that Cotts can request his release from the club if he's not in the big leagues by March 26, and again on June 1.
Then of course there was this laugh which nearly broke the internet.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ladies and gentlemen, <a href="https://twitter.com/Brett_Phillips8">@Brett_Phillips8</a> - the greatest laugh in franchise history. <a href="https://t.co/GpvgzrcTx4">pic.twitter.com/GpvgzrcTx4</a></p>— Kevin Holden (@321cuekevin) <a href="https://twitter.com/321cuekevin/status/703237222154153984">February 26, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
This is former Astro prospect Brett Phillips, who was traded to Milwaukee in the deal that landed Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. If that laugh doesn't brighten up your day then I don't know what will.