The Cubs look to add options to their bullpen that currently lacks an experienced lefty.
The Chicago Cubs emptied their bullpen of lefty specialists last season, trading James Russell to the Atlanta Braves mid-season, and not bringing back Wesley Wright. The move of letting Wright go was a bit of a head-scratcher with the Cubs not having any other proven lefties.It appears the Cubs will add an option to fill that gap, signing veteran Phil Coke to a minor league deal, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Coke was effective for the Detroit Tigers last year, posting a 3.88 ERA and 41/20 K/BB ratio in 58 innings. He does fall under the category of “lefty specialist”, as he struggled against right-handed hitters. One interesting note, according to sources, Coke chose the Cubs with just a minor-league deal, while passing on a “better” offer.
Players are choosing to come to Chicago to have the opportunity to make the roster and be part of this team, instead of taking a job elsewhere with a guarantee. Not sure about you, but that’s exciting to know.
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The bullpen still has moving pieces, as we wait to see who wins the fifth spot in the rotation. That could lead to Tsuyoshi Wada possibly finding himself in a long-relief role. Coke would likely still remain a specialist, but there is still much to be determined.
Coke is a seven-year veteran, and has pitched for the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. In 2011 he started 14 games for the Tigers, going 3-9; but since then he’s been a bullpen arm. He carries a 4.16 career ERA, but last year was his best season since 2010 when he posted a 3.76 ERA while going 7-5. He’s expected to join the Cubs tomorrow.