Phil Coke goes from Tigers’ playoff closer to Triple-A

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Phil Coke was one of the heroes of the Tigers’ playoff run last season, taking over for Jose Valverde as the primary closer while allowing one run in 10.2 innings. And now, less than a year later, he’s been demoted to Triple-A.

Coke’s performance this season certainly hasn’t been pretty with a 5.00 ERA in 36 innings, but it’s not that far off from the 4.16 ERA he posted in 227 innings during his first three seasons with the Tigers and a deeper look at his numbers shows a reliever being misused. Coke has always been good against lefties and struggled against righties, but manager Jim Leyland has used him like a traditional setup man rather than like a southpaw specialist.

Coke has held lefties to a perfectly decent .716 OPS, but because righties have knocked him around for an .834 OPS and he’s faced more righties than lefties the overall results have been ugly. And it was the same story last year, as Coke was very good against lefties and very bad against righties while facing an equal number of both. If the Tigers used Coke to his strengths he’d still be in the majors, although Coke has balked at the idea of being a specialist anyway.

Report: Mets and Rick Porcello agree on one-year, $10 million pact

Rick Porcello
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Ken Rosenthal and Eno Sarris of The Athletic report that the Mets and free agent starter Rick Porcello have agreed on a one-year contract. Per Jon Heyman, the deal is for $10 million.

Porcello, 30, is coming off of the worst season of his career. Though he went 14-12, he compiled an ugly 5.52 ERA with 143 strikeouts and 45 walks over 174 1/3 innings. It has been a rough three years for Porcello, who has an aggregate 4.79 ERA since 2017.

The benefit of this one-year deal for Porcello is that, if he has a bounce-back season, he can potentially leverage that into a multi-year contract next offseason.

The Mets also signed Michael Wacha to a one-year, $3 million deal on Wednesday. The rotation already features Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz. Unless the Mets trade one of those four, they will seemingly have to use one of Porcello and Wacha out of the bullpen to start the 2020 season with the odd man out serving as rotation insurance.

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