The Tigers have signed left-handed reliever Phil Coke to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, the team reports via twitter. MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports that the deal is for $1.9 million with another $150,000 in incentives.
Coke struggled last season, posting a 5.40 ERA over 38 1/3 innings for the Tigers. He was an important part of their bullpen in 2012, however, posting a 4.00 ERA over 54 innings and emerging as one of the team's more reliable arms in the playoffs that season while closer Jose Valverde faltered. Coke finished six games in the 2012 postseason, allowing just one run over 10 2/3 innings and recording two saves. Generally seen as a left-handed specialist, Coke has excelled against his fellow southpaws through his career, holding them to a batting line of .235/.294/.347, but his usage has never reflected that and he has faced a larger percentage of righties than lefties through his career.
Coke would have been entering his third year of arbitration eligibility. Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors originally projected an arbitration salary of $2.1 million for the Tigers reliever, so the Tigers may have saved a tiny bit with this deal if Coke is unable to reach all his incentives.
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