Blue Jays Rumors: Phil Coke throws for Jays’ brass


Throughout the course of what has been an exhaustive search for relief help, the targets for the Toronto Blue Jays have seemed relatively clear. The team needed someone who could handle a set-up role or even step in as the team’s closer, preferably a right-hander, and could overpower hitters.

So where does Phil Coke fit into that mix?

According to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, the Blue Jays recently held a workout for left-hander Phil Coke, joining the Texas Rangers in doing their due diligence on Coke.

However, I again return to the question, “why Phil Coke?”

A 7-year veteran at the age of 32, Phil Coke has been at best a durable bullpen option. Overall, he owns a 22-27 record with a career ERA of 4.16, a FIP of 3.71, a K/9 mark of 6.9, and a walk rate of 3.3. However, he is coming off the second best season of his career, posting a 5-2 record, a 3.88 ERA,  and a 3.98 FIP in 2014 for the Detroit Tigers.

The problem with Coke is that he’s mediocre at best and his splits against right-handed hitters vs his work against left-handers indicate that he is over-exposed against opposite hand hitters. In other words, he’s a LOOGY.

With Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup already slated for roles in the bullpen, and lefty Rob Rasmussen deserving of a look, especially if Cecil ends up closing, the Blue Jays appear to be completely stocked up on left-handed arms. Additionally, Loup is already so devastating against left-handed hitters that carrying another left-handed specialist in the pen is monotonous, especially if you can’t get multiple batters out of him.

That said, Phil Coke could represent a decent option on a minor league deal. Bullpen depth in Buffalo has been extremely important to the Blue Jays over the course of the last two seasons and Coke could represent a solid veteran reliever in that regard. However, as a 7-year veteran that has made 383 appearances over his career, it is doubtful that Coke will want to accept a deal where he could see significant time in the minors and with no discernible call-up date.

So I guess we can chalk this one up to “due diligence” and see what comes of it.

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