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Astros sign Neal Cotts to minor-league deal

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The southpaw will likely crack the Astros' Opening Day roster.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros have signed left-hander Neal Cotts to a minor-league deal, as first reported by MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The deal would guarantee $1.5 million if Cotts makes the major-league roster and includes $1.25 million in incentives, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Houston has been looking to add a lefty reliever on a minor-league deal all winter, and had most recently been linked to Randy Choate. Cotts will join Tony Sipp as the only two lefties currently in the Astros' bullpen mix, giving him a legitimate shot at cracking the team's Opening Day roster.

Cotts, who turns 36 in March, split last season between the Brewers and Twins, posting a 3.41 ERA in 68 appearances. He is a veteran of 10 major-league years with the White Sox (2003-06), Cubs (2007-09), Rangers (2013-14), Brewers (2015) and Twins (2015).

Even with Cotts off the board, teams looking for left-handers on the free-agent market have options available. Veterans like Choate, Franklin Morales, Sean Marshall, Joe Beimel and Matt Thornton remain unsigned.