The Blue Jays have agreed to a minor-league contract with left-handed reliever Phil Coke, according to a major-league source. Coke will head to Triple-A Buffalo, but the hope is that he will join the major-league team within a couple of weeks.
Coke's deal likely includes opt-out dates which will allow him to re-try free agency if he is not on the major-league roster in a certain amount of time. He drew interest from as many as ten teams after being cut by the Cubs.
Coke, 32, was recently designated for assignment and subsequently released by the Cubs after posting a 6.30 ERA in sixteen games to start the season. The veteran is the owner of a lifetime 4.21 ERA in eight major-league seasons with the Yankees (2008-2009), Tigers (2010-2014) and Cubs (2015) after being selected by the Yankees in the 26th round of the 2002 draft out of San Joaquin Delta College in California.
Coke will earn $2.25 million this year as a result of making the Cubs' major-league roster out of spring training, but the Jays will only have to pay him the pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum while the Cubs are on the hook for the rest. Coke will join left-handers Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup in the team's bullpen mix, providing depth in case of injury or ineffectiveness.