Tag:Phil Coke
Posted on: November 23, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: November 24, 2011 12:26 am
 

Homegrown Team: New York Yankees



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no waivers, no minor- or major-league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams.

It's late November. The awards have all been handed out. The Winter Meetings are in a few weeks. Pitchers and catchers don't report for almost three months. So it's the perfect time to kick off a fun little series. So we're starting the Homegrown series right now. We have a landing page that will be filled out as we move forward with the feature -- on which you can see the exact date we'll be posting each individual team.

What I love most about this series is that it has the potential to either enlighten or vindicate rabid fans in heated arguments. Large-market, big-spending teams are often attacked by opposing fans as simply trying to "buy championships" without having to develop their own talent. The biggest target is the Yankees, so what better team to start the series with?

The news is pretty good for the haters. You have been vindicated. This team would be ... well, you'll see.

Lineup

1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Alfonso Soriano, DH
5. Jesus Montero, 1B
6. Melky Cabrera, RF
7. Austin Jackson, CF
8. Francisco Cervelli, C
9. Eduardo Nunez, 3B

Starting Rotation

1. Ian Kennedy
2. Ivan Nova
3. Phil Hughes
4. Chien-Ming Wang
5. Jeff Karstens

Bullpen

Closer - Mariano Rivera
Set up - John Axford, David Robertson, Tyler Clippard, Mark Melancon, Joba Chamberlain
Long - Phil Coke? Jose Contreras?

Notable Bench Players

Jorge Posada, Dioner Navarro, Juan Rivera, Jose Tabata ... and that's about it. Unless Marcus Thames and Shelley Duncan get you excited.

What's Good?

That bullpen is sick. It would easily be the best in baseball, with any lead past the fifth inning seemingly being safe in the hands of Clippard, Robertson, Axford and Rivera.

What's Not?

Anything else. Nothing is horrible, but the lineup, defense and rotation leave a lot to be desired. What's worse, there's really no depth in case of injuries. They'd have to turn to either Coke or a minor leaguer (Dellin Betances?) in the rotation -- or convince Andy Pettitte to come out of retirement -- and Ramiro Pena is the only backup infielder. There are plenty of backup outfielders, but Tabata's really the only one with upside.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, let's see. The 2011 Yankees won 97 games en route to a division title and the best record in the American League. This team is mediocre at best. The bullpen is awesome, but how many leads would there be to protect? 75? There is an MVP candidate in Cano, but having Soriano as protection isn't near as cushy as he's used to. Since this is the first team in our 30-team series, we won't reveal many other specifics, but I can tell you that this Yankees team would probably finish fourth in the AL East. Thus, it's much worse than reality. I have no way of measuring this, but I do think this team is better than many Yankee-hating fans would have guessed. Lots of those act like the Yankees have never developed anyone. This isn't an awful collection, it's just not good.

Now, it's absolutely worth noting the Yankees lost lots of draft picks as compensation for signing free agents, so that's why they don't have any depth. But let's just remember this is supposed to be a fun exercise for the offseason.

Up next: San Diego Padres

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 10:00 am
 

Pepper: Concussion continues to haunt Morneau

Justin Morneau

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Justin Morneau said the concussion symptoms that will keep him out until at least Friday are "nothing like" what he went through last year, and I'm sure that's true.

But the fact that Morenau began experiencing those symptoms (a headache and fogginess) on Monday and still had the remnants of the symptoms on Tuesday are scary. There's so little we know about concussions, there's little understanding of how our brains react to being move inside its casing and how long it can affect a human.

Morneau has had plenty of other problems this season, but until this week concussions hadn't been part of his problem -- or at least that we know. That's the thing with concussions, there's so much we don't know and we may never know. Science is a wonderful thing, but it takes time. 

What is impressive is how the Twins have handled this -- they didn't rush Morneau back last season when they could have used him and they're taking all precautions this season. I hope this doesn't last the rest of Morneau's career, but I think it'd hardly be a surprise if it did.

There was a lot of attention to concussions last year in the NFL season, but this isn't just a football problem or even just a sports problem, it's a medical problem that we should all take a lot of interest in and make sure we understand as much as possible. Those who say it's just "ringing a bell" and players need to be "tougher" are just ignorant and it's a mindset that must be changed. [Star Tribune]

Game-changer: Technology isn't just great for fans -- the players are using technology in many ways to improve their games. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark takes an in-depth look at the way baseball is using technology, from iPads to using stats to predict pitching patterns. It's well worth the read.

Elite company: Marlins right-hander Javier Vazquez became the 30th pitch in major-league history to record 2,500 strikeouts in Tuesday's game victory over the Mets. [Miami Herald]

Rehab updates: Grady Sizemore will start his rehab assignment on Wednesday [MLB.com], while Boston's Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew started their rehab assignments on Tuesday -- Drew went 3 for 3 and Youkilis went 1 for 4 with a walk and reached on an error. [Dan Hoard]

Price of success: Remember Pirate Fever earlier this summer? Well, Pittsburgh fans are going to pay for it as the team is raising its prices for 2012. That said, the increase is modest from an average of $15.30 to $16.11 per ticket. The Pirates had the lowest average ticket price in baseball (in one of the best settings) for 2011 and will still be close, if not at, the bottom next season. The Pirates hadn't raised prices in a decade. The Pirates said most tickets would stay the same, decrease or increase by $3 or less. The dugout box seats will be raised by $5 -- but only $2 more than they were in 2002. [Pittsburgh Tribube-Review]

Favorite things: The Tigers wives put together auction gift baskets filled with players' favorite things every year, and you can learn a lot about some of baseball's best -- like Justin Verlander likes crappy food and crappy movies, Ryan Raburn loves killin' stuff, why Daniel Schlereth smells funny and that Phil Coke uses "liquid titanium massage lotion." [H/T MLive.com]

R and RBI: Curtis Granderson is leading the big leagues in both runs and RBI -- a feat that has been done just 19 times before, six times by Babe Ruth. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Wakefield pushed back: Tim Wakefield's seemingly never-ending search for his 200th win will be delayed a bit, as Red Sox manager Terry Francona told the knuckleballer that he's skipping his turn in the rotation for a turn. Andrew Miller will start Friday against Texas instead of Wakefield. Wakefield is 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA in seven starts since his winning No. 199. [Boston Globe]

Call ups: The clubhouse at Great American Ball Park could get pretty crowded. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said "quite a few" players will get called up when the rosters expand. The most heralded is catcher Devin Mesoraco, who Evan wrote about Tuesday. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

In-flight entertainment: You may be able to watch baseball games live on your phone on a flight. [Los Angeles Times]

Father-son show: Former Met Howard Johnson, 50, will play alongside his son, Glen, for the independent Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League on Sunday and Monday. [New York Daily News]

Cool card: Check out these awesome baseball cards fans got when they went to a My Morning Jacket concert in Philadelphia last week. Very, very cool. [UniWatch Blog]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 8, 2011 5:08 pm
 

On Deck: AL Central getting tight



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Tigers prowl: With Cleveland's loss to the Twins on Wednesday, the Tigers are within a game of the American League Central lead. Detroit can't take over first with a win on Wednesday, but they can inch to a half-game out of first with a win over Texas in Arlington on Wednesday. Lefty Phil Coke is expected to be activated from the DL in time to face right-hander Alexi Ogando, who beat the Tigers with a two-hitter through seven innings in April. Ogando has yet to lose a decision as a starter. Tigers at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

David OrtizRetaliation time? Nobody expects A.J. Burnett to bean David Ortiz right off the bat -- but he may smoke him inside just to get his attention. It's nice to have some actual bad blood between these two teams again. For two long the rivalry has been pretty boring -- but with Joe Girardi complaining about Ortiz's bat flip on Tuesday, things could get interesting. Or at least more interesting.  Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

RockiesWelcome back: Everything's coming up Rockies today -- the team gets Aaron Cook back and he faces a team he's traditionally pitched well against. In his career he's 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA at Petco Park and is 14-4 against the Padres overall. They're also facing Dustin Moseley, who his pitching well this season, going 2-6 with a 3.00 ERA and has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his last 12 starts. However, Moseley was rocked by the Rockies on May 13, allowing six runs in four innings of a loss at Coors Field. Rockies at Padres, 6:35 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: October 3, 2010 1:16 pm
 

Tigers making big decisions on 2011

Johnny Damon I'm sure Red Sox fans will be happy to hear Johnny Damon will be available this offseason.

Damon turned down a trade to the Red Sox in August because he liked Detroit so much and wanted to stay there. Apparently the Tigers think that's mighty nice, but he can move on along now.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski talked to reporters (via Steve Kornacki of MLive.com ) before Sunday's season-finale in Baltimore and said the team wouldn't bring back Damon, catcher Gerald Laird or starter Jeremy Bonderman, although Bonderman could be invited to spring training if he doesn't find another home.

The team will also decline their $15 million option on outfielder Magglio Ordonez, Dombrowski said, but would like to bring him back at a more team-friendly price.

As for those staying, the team has offered third baseman Brandon Inge a multi-year contract and may pick up shortstop Jhonny Peralta's $7.25 million option.

Dombrowski said the team will be looking to add a middle of the order "RBI threat" with the $70.1 million coming off the team's books.

Also, manager Jim Leyland told reporters (via the Detroit Free Press ' John Lowe ) that left-hander Phil Coke will be moved from the bullpen to the rotation.

"We need a left-hander in the rotation," Leyland said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 18, 2010 3:36 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Coke to close while Valverde out

Jose Valverde Phil Coke is the new closer for the Tigers while incumbent Jose Valverde is out with a mystery ailment.

Manager Jim Leyland refused to divulge what is hobbling Valverde (pictured), instead choosing to say only that Valverde would pitch again when he is ready.

"He's off until he tells me he's able to pitch, and he's not able to pitch right now," Leyland said after Friday's game, the Detroit News reports . "I'm going to use Coke as the closer, hopefully temporarily. I don't know how long that will last."

Coke has a 2.88 ERA in 59 1/3 innings and already has one save to his name, grabbing it back on July 7. He now has three career saves, two coming with the Yankees in 2009.

Valverde, on the other hand, has 25 saves and a 3.10 ERA, clinching his fourth-straight season of at least 25 saves. He broke the 40-save barrier from 2007-08 before finishing 2009 with 25 in Houston due to injuries.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 30, 2010 4:34 pm
 

Will Tigers convert Coke into starter?

Phil Coke Phil Coke has been everything the Tigers could have hoped for after being acquired from the Yankees in the Curtis Granderson blockbuster.

He's been, in manager Jim Leyland's words, "a legitimate top-tier left-handed major-league relief pitcher right now," according to the Detroit News . With a 2.50 ERA in 54 innings, he's certainly been just that with only one home run allowed, 20 walks and 45 whiffs. He's also been a consummate teammate and one willing to spend time with fans.

And perhaps in 2011, he'll be a starter.

"We talked about that the other day," Leyland said of the possibility of converting Coke back to a starter, which he was in the minor leagues. There was talk about Coke moving to the rotation after being acquired, but that never came to fruition.

"I don't know the answer. I wish I did."

Coke last started in 2008 for Double-A when he logged 20 starts and three relief appearances, posting a 2.51 ERA in 118 1/3 innings. Coke began the conversion to relief upon promotion to Triple-A with an eye towards contributing to the Yankees' bullpen down the stretch.

Coke throws a fastball, slider, curveball and change up primarily, with a mid-90s fastball that looks slower than it actually is, which has caused him to be able to sneak up on hitters. That repertoire would enable Coke to start, although Leyland is unsure if the pitches will retain effectiveness if they start.

Converting relievers into starters -- especially at Coke's "advanced" age of 28 -- isn't common practice, but has been pulled off with success in recent years. Braden Looper converted from a World Series-winning closer to a solid starter for three years. C.J. Wilson is the latest success story, morphing into a starter worthy of Cy Young Award consideration.

It's not just about the pitches holding up in a conversion, however. It's about health.

"If you think in your heart that you're risking health if you start him, then you should leave him where he's at -- because to have him four or five times a week is better than not having him at all," Leyland said.

Essentially, Leyland has no idea whether Coke should be converted to a starter at all. Hopefully he figures it out by spring training.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Tags: Phil Coke, Tigers
 
 
 
 
 
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