The Marlins and right-hander Ryan Cook are in agreement on a minor league contract, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (via Twitter). The Excel Sports client would earn $750K upon making the big league roster and could earn an additional $250K worth of incentives to bring the total value of the deal to an even $1MM.
Cook, 32, spent the 2019 season with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball but narrowly kept his ERA south of 5.00 and also spent some time with the club’s minor league affiliate. It wasn’t an inspiring season, to be sure, but Cook’s track record nevertheless has its fair share of appeal.
It’s easy to forget that back in 2012, Cook was an All-Star reliever for the Athletics. From 2012-14, he was a vital member of the Oakland relief corps, pitching to a combined 2.60 ERA and a similarly impressive 2.96 FIP. Cook maintained a ground-ball rate north of 46 percent, averaged better than a strikeout per inning and yielded just nine home runs in 190 2/3 innings across that three-year span.
Unfortunately for both Cook and the A’s, injuries began to mount in 2014-15. A forearm strain and shoulder inflammation slowed him over those two seasons, and he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016. In the five years since the conclusion of that outstanding three-year run, Cook has thrown just 25 2/3 innings at the MLB level — mostly coming with the 2018 Mariners.
The Marlins’ bullpen is anything but settled, which should give Cook a legitimate chance to break camp with the club if he puts together an impressive Spring Training. Drew Steckenrider, Ryne Stanek, Yimi Garcia, Adam Conley, Jarlin Garcia and Jose Urena are all options for manager Don Mattingly in 2020. If Cook can complete his comeback and make it through the season, the Marlins would control him through the 2021 season via arbitration.