Pittsburgh Pirates: Trade for Left-Handed Phil Coke

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Breaking News: A few days ago Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington mentioned that they were looking to add another pitcher.  This morning it was announced that they made a deal.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired left-handed relief pitcher Phil Coke from the New York Yankees.  In return the Pirates will send cash considerations.  This makes for another left-handed pitcher acquired.  Since the end of July the Pittsburgh Pirates have added four left-handed relievers.  The Pirates acquired Felipe Rivero from the Nationals, Antonio Bastardo from the Mets, Wade LeBlanc from the Mariners, and now Coke from the Yankees.  These four lefties were added to a bullpen that already has left-handed pitchers Tony Watson and Jeff Locke.  All left-handed bullpen soon?

In all seriousness this should not come as a surprise the acquisition of Coke.  A few years back Phil Coke was almost a Pittsburgh Pirate.  In July of 2008 the Pittsburgh Pirates made a trade with the New York Yankees.  The Bucs sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Bronx in exchange for Jose Tabata, Daniel McCutchen, Ross Ohlendorf,  and Jeff Karstens.  Originally it was reported that Phil Coke would be heading to the Pirates in the deal.  With that being said, it seemed destined that Coke, who has been a journey man, would end up with the Pittsburgh Pirates at some point.

What Will Phil Coke Bring?

Phil Coke as been pitching in the big leagues for parts of nine seasons.  His longest time was spent with the Detroit Tigers.  He was very good against the Pittsburgh Pirates, many of you probably remembering him coming in to solely strike out Pedro Alvarez. On his career Coke has 4.23 earned run average.  Coke has a 6.9 strikeout per nine innings along with a 3.5 walks per nine innings.  One thing with Coke is that he has always struggled with command.

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However, he has success against left-handed pitchers because of this.  When facing right-handed pitcher Cokes average pitches do not play.  They are able to lay off his slow breaking curve and hit his low 90s fastball.  On the flip side, lefties have trouble picking up Coke’s curve-ball.  Not to keep referring back to Pedro Alvarez, but when Coke would face him he would throw him nothing but curves.  Coke holds left-handed hitter to a .239 batting average and to a .354 slugging percentage.

Chance are the Pittsburgh Pirates will not be keeping Coke around to long.  He is a free agent after this year.  He very well could only be a Pittsburgh Pirates for eleven games.  Unless he comes in and impresses in these eleven games then he will likely find himself on another team.  However, if he does impress the Pittsburgh Pirates could bring Coke back on a minor league deal next season, as that is all that he will probably get.  For now it is a nice buy low pickup that could help eat some innings as the season comes to a close.