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Phil Coke Rumors
Even though Francisco Rodriguez is now off the market, the Marlins aren’t likely to pursue Rafael Soriano or Phil Coke on Major League contracts, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. The Fish may be done with their bullpen shopping altogether, Frisaro writes, as they’re happy with the number of power arms they already have in camp and the money they intended to spend on Rodriguez could now be saved for in-season upgrades, if necessary.
As previously reported, the Fish had some interest in Coke if he was willing to take a minor league deal. The lefty has reportedly received minor league offers from multiple teams, however, so the Marlins would have competition if Coke were to give up his search for a big league contract.
As for Soriano, he’s never been linked to the Marlins on the rumor mill this season, despite the fact that he and Rodriguez (a known Miami target) share some on-paper similarities as veteran relievers with closing experience. The Marlins already have a closer in Steve Cishek but, as Frisaro notes, the team was looking for someone to handle the ninth on days when Cishek wasn’t available.
Despite some concerns from scouts about Soriano’s stuff, the veteran reliever has still drawn some interest this offseason. Soriano has been linked to the Blue Jays, Dodgers, Rockies and Brewers in rumors, though the latter two clubs have since addressed their bullpen needs.
Despite all of their success, it’s not easy for the Giants to land free agents thanks to the tax rate in California, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News writes. The top income tax rate in California is 13.3%, which is more than double the top tax rate in all but a handful of states with major league teams. “It’s exponential when you get into the size of some of these numbers,” Sabean said. “It makes a difference.” The Giants have had to build differently and a little more creatively than others, sometimes with some key moves in the summer, but it has worked out pretty well for them. Here’s more from the West divisions..
- The Rangers‘ interest in lefty reliever Phil Coke has waned and the club doesn’t expect to sign the free agent reliever, a source tells Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram (via Twitter). The Rangers claimed a left-handed reliever earlier today when they plucked Edgar Olmos from the Mariners. The Tigers apparently haven’t expressed much interest in a reunion and another spot in their ‘pen was filled when they signed Joba Chamberlain.
- If shortstop prospect Ketel Marte plays well enough to reach the big leagues this year, the Mariners’ willingness to move Brad Miller or Chris Taylor will increase in the coming months, if not sooner, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. One Mariners official compared Marte, a switch hitter, to a younger version of Jose Reyes. He also has some second base experience, but he’s blocked there by Robinson Cano.
- All of the Angels‘ core relievers throw fastballs at an average speed of less than 92 mph, which means they’re basically ignoring baseball’s dogma about power arms in the bullpen, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes. Recently, the Angels have placed more of a premium on strike-throwing ability than velocity.
- Trea Turner, who will be joining the Nationals as the player to be named later in the Wil Myers trade, is in camp with the Padres, Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego writes. Lin checks in on Turner’s unusual camp experience as he is still more than three months away from joining the Nats.
Joba Chamberlain‘s new deal with the Tigers includes a pretty hard-to-reach incentive, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter): the reliever will get an additional $100K if he wins the Cy Young award. Chamberlain, 29, will receive a $1MM base salary plus an additional $100K for reaching 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55 appearances. The right-hander posted a 3.57 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.43 HR/9, and 53.2% groundball rate in 63 innings for the Tigers last year. More from the AL Central..
- Many expected that Phil Coke had a better chance of returning to the Tigers than Chamberlain, but that was apparently not the case, Jason Beck of MLB.com writes. The Tigers have shown no signs of interest for Coke and although he has thrown for teams in San Diego recently, neither manager Brad Ausmus nor Tigers scouts had watched him as of a week ago.
- Chris Iott of MLive.com looked at the multiple implications of Chamberlain signing with the Tigers. The pact, among other things, gives the bullpen depth and also insurance for Bruce Rondon as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. Detroit expects Rondon to be their main seventh-inning guy, but if he’s not good to go for some reason, the Tigers could turn to the newly-acquired Chamberlain or Al Alburquerque.
- A lot of fuss has been made over Royals outfielder Alex Gordon and his player option for 2016, but it doesn’t sound like he’s all that distracted by it. “[I] don’t think about it,” Gordon said, according to Jeffrey Flanagan (on Twitter) “The only time I think about it is when you guys ask me.” Last August, Gordon told reporters he intended to exercise his $13.25MM player option for the 2016 season but now he’s not so sure.
In today’s Insider-only blog on ESPN.com, Buster Olney discusses some of the remaining relief options on the market, noting that right-hander Joba Chamberlain is expected to make a decision on his 2015 club sometime this week. The Dodgers are among the teams with interest, Olney writes, but there are others involved. Olney also notes that part of the reason Rafael Soriano remains unemployed is that scouts feel that his stuff evaporated late in the 2014 season with the Nationals.
A bit more on what’s left of the relief market…
- The Rangers are still looking for left-handed relievers and are considering both Phil Coke and Joe Beimel, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. As Wilson notes, the team needn’t worry about a 40-man roster spot, as they can move an injured player to the 60-day disabled list if they accommodate either southpaw with a big league contact.
- The Brewers and Marlins remain in the mix for Francisco Rodriguez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The two teams have been the most commonly linked clubs to Rodriguez’s market, with reports over the weekend indicating that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has discussed K-Rod with agent Scott Boras. Last week, the Marlins were rumored to be interested in the two-year, $10MM range, but Rodriguez is said to be eyeing a $10MM figure for 2015 alone.
- Right-hander Dustin McGowan, who signed a Major League deal with the Dodgers earlier today, is viewing himself as a reliever at this point in his career, he told reporters (including FOX’s Ken Rosenthal). The Dodgers view McGowan as a relief candidate based on his 95 mph fastball and his splits; McGowan had a 5.08 ERA in the rotation last year compared to a 3.35 mark in the bullpen. His career 3.79 ERA as a reliever is nearly a run lower than his 4.78 mark as a starter.
Jesus Montero has been a massive disappointment with the Mariners, but spent the offseason putting himself in position for a turnaround, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Montero is in great shape, as photo and video confirms, and is certainly young and talented enough to hold plenty of promise.
More from the west:
- The Rangers are still looking at lefty Phil Coke and watched him throw again recently, reports Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. GM Jon Daniels discussed the possibility of adding an arm today, noting that depth is always valuable but expressing interest in seeing his current group in camp. (Video via Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest.) While the club has to this point been unwilling to make Coke a major league offer, with the southpaw still holding out for a 40-man spot, Fraley notes that the bad news on Jurickson Profar will clear a big league roster space since he is destined for the 60-day DL.
- As for the unfortunate news on Profar, the Rangers‘ head baseball decisionmaker firmly rejected the idea that the prospect deserved criticism for trying to avoid surgery by rehab. While the news that a procedure would be required was not a total surprise, Daniels said that the 22-year-old infielder made the difficult decision for good reasons and worked very hard over the offseason. Certainly, Daniels did not sound like he was interested in giving up on Profar. “Fortunately, he’s still just 22 years old,” said the GM. “We’ll get him back and we’ll get him out there.”
- Angels slugger Josh Hamilton is going to require a longer recovery from shoulder surgery than originally expected, as MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. At this point, it isn’t even clear that Hamilton will be close enough to report to spring camp. It still does not seem that an addition will truly be necessary, with Matt Joyce on hand to step in. Hamilton’s absence will presumably also create additional opportunities for players like Collin Cowgill and waiver claimees Alfredo Marte and Roger Kieschnick.
The Mets won’t be signing Phil Coke, ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports. The team was reportedly interested in the left-hander earlier this winter, but according to Rubin, the Mets decided in December that they wouldn’t be signing any relievers to Major League contracts this offseason. They have stuck to that plan, adding the likes of Buddy Carlyle, Duane Below and Scott Rice on minor league contracts. Several teams have offered Coke minor league deals with Spring Training invitations, but the veteran southpaw is still looking for a Major League contract.
Here’s some more from around the NL East…
- Also from Rubin, he has the full list of Mets players who are out of options: Wilmer Flores, John Mayberry, Jenrry Mejia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Cesar Puello, Ruben Tejada and Carlos Torres. According to Rubin, all of these players are expected to make the Mets’ roster except for Puello.
- Carlyle and Alex Castellanos have out clauses in their Mets contracts for early June, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports (Twitter links). Carlyle also has an out clause that he can exercise on Opening Day. The two players each signed minor league deals with New York earlier this winter.
- Doug Fister is entering his last year under contract with the Nationals, but the righty tells MLB.com’s Bill Ladson that he isn’t looking ahead to his free agency but rather just concentrating on the coming season. “I’m wearing this jersey right now. That’s the most important thing. I’m a National through and through. I’m proud of it. If it looks like I can stay here, great. If not, I’ve just got to make sure I get my job done, be part of the team I’m part of,” Fister said. The right-hander is just one of several high-profile Nats players who are slated for free agency after 2015, including Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann and Denard Span.
- The top four teams who seem like the best fits for Phillies ace Cole Hamels are listed by MLB.com’s Jim Duquette. In order, the Red Sox, Cardinals, Padres and Cubs comprise Duquette’s list. All four clubs have been linked to Hamels on the rumor mill, though none may be willing or able to provide the Phillies with the top-tier prospects they would need to make a deal.
The Marlins don’t appear likely to make a significant free-agent addition to their bullpen, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that the team isn’t expected to add Phil Coke or Joba Chamberlain, and the asking price of Francisco Rodriguez remains too high. Frisaro had previously written that Miami was considering Rodriguez and had its eyes on a minor league deal for Coke.
According to Frisaro, the Marlins are comfortable offering Rodriguez a two-year deal worth roughly $10MM in total. However, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported last night that K-Rod is seeking that same level of financial compensation on a one-year deal. I’d imagine that agent Scott Boras would listen if the Marlins were to expand (though certainly not double) their comfort zone on a two-year deal, but Frisaro gives no indication that such a scenario is likely. He does note that if Rodriguez’s demands drop, he’s the most realistic external option to boost the bullpen. The Marlins don’t have serious interest in Chamberlain, Frisaro adds.
As for Coke, the Marlins remain unwilling to give the former Tiger anything other than a minor league contract. Miami is very interested to see what Rule 5 pick Andrew McKirahan can do in Spring Training, and adding Coke would likely snuff out that competition before it had a chance to begin, as the team already has a second lefty locked into a bullpen spot in the form of Mike Dunn. Coke, though, is said to be looking for about $2MM on a Major League contract.
Another name that intrigues the Marlins is that of minor league signee Nick Masset, who excelled as a setup man for the Reds from 2009-11 before shoulder problems kept him on the shelf for the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons. Masset returned to the Majors in 2014 but struggled to a 5.80 ERA in 45 innings with the Rockies. However, Masset did still average nearly 93 mph on his fastball with a 51.7 percent ground-ball rate, so there are some elements of his rough season that merit optimism.
Lefty Phil Coke is one of relatively few remaining relievers on the free agent market. Last we checked in, we heard that the Marlins are interested and that Coke still has hope of landing a big league deal. Indeed, as I noted in that post, there are some positive indicators for his ability to contribute. And he does seem to be drawing wide interest. Here’s the latest:
- Coke has several minor league offers with camp invites in hand, but is still waiting for that elusive 40-man spot, Jason Beck of MLB.com tweets. A deal could be in place by the end of this week, per Beck, which would allow Coke to avoid missing too much spring time.
- Coke recently threw for the Royals, Beck also reports. Kansas City would look to represent a nice opportunity for Coke: beyond Tim Collins, the club is short on experienced southpaws. And presumably, K.C. will allow Brandon Finnegan to develop as a starter.
- The Rangers could well add Coke, per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Texas is still having conversations with Coke’s camp, but it appears that the pitcher is still asking the team to give him a major league deal.
The Blue Jays and Indians appear not to be involved with any of the three best remaining relievers — righties Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, and Joba Chamberlain — according to ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden (Insider link). Other theoretically plausible landing spots seem fairly dried up as well, he notes in assessing the most likely remaining suitors.
Here are a few more pitching notes:
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says that the club spoke with lefty reliever Joe Beimel but that a deal could not be reached, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN tweets. Beimel had a nice rebound campaign last year in Seattle, and is one of the few southpaws left on the market.
- The Mets will not be dealing away any pitchers unless circumstances change, Marc Carig of Newsday reports (Twitter links). Dillon Gee generated the most discussion, but New York never found an offer it liked and its prospective trade partners went with other options.
- We checked in earlier this evening on K-Rod and lefty Phil Coke, each of whom has received some interest from the Marlins. Within that post, we noted a report from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter) indicating that Coke still has hope of landing a big league pact.
- Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays is likely not going anywhere any time soon, but I can’t help but link to this interesting piece from Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs, who explains that Stroman’s arsenal of pitches looks like it was assembled from amongst the best offerings of some of the very best arms in the game.
The Marlins are looking to pick up one or two of the few remaining free agent pen arms, according to a report from MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Miami is “looking to sign” southpaw Phil Coke to a minor league pact and remains open to striking a deal with Francisco Rodriguez, per the report.
If a deal is struck, the 32-year-old Coke would be given a spring invite and a chance to earn a role as the team’s second lefty out of the pen. Coke has put up less-than-outstanding results over the past two seasons, but induces groundballs at a handy rate and still brings a mid-90s fastball from the left side. The Steamer projection system, at least, expects better run prevention from him in 2015.
Of course, it is not clear that Miami will be able to woo Coke on a minor league deal. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter that the veteran is looking for a $2MM guarantee and still has possible fits on a big league commitment, with plenty of teams interested in minor league pacts.
As for Rodriguez, he would obviously need to be willing to function in a set-up role in front of closer Steve Cishek. He has been most closely connected to the Brewers, of course, and it is unclear whether Miami would look to compete or merely function as a lower-priced backup option if Milwaukee does not sign K-Rod. Even at this point in the offseason, Frisaro says that Rodriguez is expected to earn $10MM or more over two years.