Welcome to Detroit, Phil Coke

Welcome to Detroit, Phil Coke

zz Detroit 4 Lyfe

Welcome to Detroit, Phil Coke


This is part two of a four-part series introducing the Tigers’ four new players to readers who may not know much about them. Part 1 (Max Scherzer) can be found here. Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of information out there on these guys, but we’ll share whatever we dig up. Parts 3 & 4 will come later.

Of the four players the Tigers got in their 3-way trade, Phil Coke is probably the guy I’m least excited about. It’s not a knock against Mr. Coke, but there’s only so much excitement that comes with a lefty reliever without the potential that Daniel Schlereth has. Coke will probably have a difficult time breaking into the Tigers’ bullpen with Bobby Seay currently holding the #1 LOOGY role.

Phil Coke

That being said, Coke had a decent year for the Satans Yankees last year. He pitched 60 innings in 72 appearances with a 4.50 ERA (not awful for a reliever). He had 49 strikeouts to 20 walks. Lefties hit .197 while righties didn’t fare much better at just .202. However, he held lefties to a .221 on-base percentage while that number jumped to .310 against right-handed hitters. That OBP saw a huge jump because he walked 16 righties compared to just 6 lefties despite 36 more left-handed opponent plate appearances. He dialed his game up during the stretch run, holding opponents to a .137 batting average with just one earned run in September and October. [stats via Baseball-Reference.com]

Overall, it looks like Phil Coke was filler from the Yankees in the three-team deal. Kurt of Mack Avenue Tigers (and new commander-in-chief of Bless You Boys, congrats Kurt!) wanted to see a different Phil at the CoPa next year.

Granderson to the Yankees? Maybe for Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson, and hopefully more.

Is that asking price too high or unreasonable? Tough. Granderson was an important, franchise player for the club. He was an extremely important player for the fans. If you can’t get back an incredible package for him, you don’t move him.


So if Granderson was traded, I expected to find some excitement in return.

Right name, wrong Phil.

At the Detroit Tiger Weblog, Billfer is a bit more positive but still less-than-excited about seeing Coke in Detroit.

Phil Coke is another lefty bullpen arm (that’s 3 that the Tigers have picked up in 2 days). To clarify though, Coke pitched out of the Yankees bullpen last year but has been primarily a starter in the minors. With the deal not done in the most official of senses Dombrowski hasn’t commented on what role he sees for for Coke in 2010.

On the other side of the fence, Yankees fans aren’t bent-out-of-shape in the slightest to see Coke go. Pinstripe Alley sums up most of the Yankee-sided sentiments on Coke that I’ve seen so far.

My feelings for Phil Coke are similar.  He’s a useful lefty reliever who’s competent enough against opposite-handed hitters, but he’s also a flyball pitcher who gave up a home run every six innings last year.  The re-emerge of Damaso Marte made him expendable, although he was unlikely to ever see many high-leverage innings anyway.

I am also disappointed to see Coke as one of the guys the Tigers got in this blockbuster deal. As I stated, we have a great lefty in our bullpen already, and Coke doesn’t have closer potential. I think Dave Dombrowski could have gotten more in return for Coke. I’d rather have Ian Kennedy than Coke, especially when we gave up way more than the Diamondbacks did. Phil Hughes would have been a much better option as well because he could step into the currently-vacant closer role immediately for the Tigers.

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