Phil Coke’s transition from reliever to starter went well early on, as he posted a 3.69 ERA through 11 starts, but that came with an ugly 1-6 record and Coke has since fallen to 1-8 by giving up 18 runs in his last three starts.
Today the Tigers ended the experiment, dropping Coke from the rotation and sending him back to the bullpen, where the left-hander had a 3.76 ERA and 53/26 K/BB ratio in 65 innings last season.
Coke’s overall numbers as a starter certainly aren’t very impressive, with a 4.91 ERA and 37/30 K/BB ratio in 77 innings, but I’m guessing the Tigers wouldn’t have made the move if he were, say, 4-5 instead of 1-8 and much of that comes from poor run support that was out of Coke’s hands anyway.
Whatever the case, left-hander Charlie Furbush will replace Coke in the rotation after pitching well in a dozen relief appearances following his call-up last month. Furbush was a starter in the minors and has always posted excellent strikeout rates, but his ERA in 17 starts at Triple-A was just 4.64. He does get some extra points for the name, however.
The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.
The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.
Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.
Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.