You can add the Atlanta Braves to the list of teams seeking bullpen help at the 2013 MLB trade deadline. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted earlier today that the Atlanta Brave called to inquire about obtaining the service of Tigers left-handed reliever Phil Coke.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 23, 2013
Phil Coke is having a down year out of the Tigers pen. But Coke’s problems may not be entirely his fault. Coke was part of a closer committee that was a unmittigated disaster in the opening weeks of the season; a strategy employed by Jim Leyland after anointed closer Bruce Rondon failed to hold down the 9th innings duties.
After that it seemed Phil Coke struggled in nearly every situation out of the pen. However he has continued his success as a left-handed specialist, a role in which he excelled in 2011. This season he has held left-handed hitters to a .231 batting average, a stat the Braves are very interested in considering they are thin on left-handed arms in the bullpen.
If the Tigers weren’t interested in dealing Phil Coke to the Braves, they must still have confidence in his ability versus left-handed pitching. If Jim Leyland uses him in that capacity, the Tigers can regain that left-handed weapon they had in 2011.