The Chicago Cubs have signed left-hander Phil Coke to a minor-league deal, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. As part of the deal, the 32-year-old will make $2.25 million if he makes the major league roster, per Chris Lott of MLive.com.
As Rosenthal adds, Coke passed up at least one major league offer in order to sign a minor league contract with Chicago. Still, he stands to make a reasonable sum of money if he makes the majors, and there is a fairly good chance of that happening. Coke can also make an additional $900,000 via incentives.
Coke has been an enigmatic arm over the past seven seasons with the Yankees and Tigers. For his career, he has just a 4.16 ERA, but his 3.71 FIP is much better. After putting up a 5.40 ERA in 2013, Coke was relatively good in 2014, posting a 3.88 ERA, 103 ERA+, and 2.05 K/BB in 58.0 innings pitched with Detroit. Coke has been especially effective against left-handed batters in his career, and will likely be deployed as a lefty specialist. Southpaws have hit for just a .649 OPS in 786 plate appearances against Coke during his career.
Coke will join fellow southpaws Felix Doubront and Drake Britton, giving Chicago some additional depth in left-handers for their bullpen. Coke will likely find himself competing with Doubront, Britton, Francisely Bueno, Jacob Turner, and Justin Grimm for the final spot or two in the Cubs' bullpen, as it seems that Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Neil Ramirez, Jason Motte, and Edwin Jackson are essentially roster locks at this point.
With Coke off the board, that now leaves Rafael Soriano as the only clear big league-caliber reliever remaining on the free agent market. The past two weeks has seen a plethora of names come off the board, including Coke, Mike Adams, Joba Chamberlain, Dustin McGowan, and Francisco Rodriguez.