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Phil Coke isn’t worried about the Tigers’ closer situation

Mar 6, 2013, 10:01 PM EDT

Phil Coke AP

Now that it’s increasingly apparent that hard-throwing rookie Bruce Rondon might not be able to handle the job, the Tigers are reportedly trying to acquire a closer. While it’s interesting to see this much uncertainty in the late innings for a team which is built to win right now, lefty reliever Phil Coke doesn’t see what the fuss is all about.

According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Coke expressed confidence today that the Tigers will be fine even if they don’t have a clear cut option at closer to begin the season.

“No, I think we have three guys that have done it already,” Coke said. “We’ve got a guy that we’re working on to have him do it. And if he doesn’t end up being able to do the job, somebody’s going to be there to do the job.

“I don’t understand why there’s a panic button. We’re not going to die. We’re not all going to die if we don’t have a closer. If we go out there and we need to have a guy step into a situation, we will. If it’s a closer by committee, it’s a closer by committee. If [Rondon's] the closer, he’s the closer.”

Coke only has six regular season saves to his name, but he made a big impression during the postseason after manager Jim Leyland soured on Jose Valverde, notching two saves while allowing just one run over 10 2/3 innings. However, since he’s left-handed, Leyland may prefer to use him in certain matchups. Right-handers Octavio Dotel and Joaquin Benoit have also closed in the past while Al Alburquerque could be a possibility if he gets his control in check. Of course, this potential committee could all be rendered moot if something suddenly clicks with Rondon or the Tigers acquire someone to do the job.

  1. historiophiliac - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Agreed that we don’t need to panic yet, and we’ll probably close by committee for a bit. I think things depend on how Brian Wilson’s arm heals. There’s nothing wrong with waiting a bit and looking around. I hope DD is working up a plan B though.

    Thanks, DJ for the extra daily dose of Tigers awesomeness! <3

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:12 AM

      Bah Humbug!

      • historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:27 AM

        Humbug yourself, Canadian!

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:46 AM

        Cheers! May the pussy cats have a fine season.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:47 AM

        Oh, we will.

    • cur68 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:32 AM

      Plan B: Valverde. VALVERDE. VALVERDE . . . and more Valverde…

      • historiophiliac - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:32 AM

        I sniff at your silliness. *sniff* *sniff*

        Also, how is it that your pic is not either a beaver or you in your beloved beaver hat?

  2. Minoring In Baseball - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    I don’t think that the Tigers are that bad off. Yes, Rondon hasn’t impressed much in spring training, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be there for them later on in the season. I don’t expect them to trade away any top prospects for a closer, either.

    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:48 AM

      The Tigers have top prospects? Can any of them play the middle infield positions?

      • Minoring In Baseball - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:51 AM

        Eugenio Suarez won the Gold Glove last season as the best SS in Minor League Baseball playing for the West Michigan Whitecaps:

        http://minoringinbaseball.com/2012/10/05/whitecaps-suarez-strikes-gold/

        So…the answer is ‘yes’.
        -Mike

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:29 AM

        Good for him. However, it is a long jump from low single A to the Tigers. It will be a few years before he can contribute. In the meanwhile, that infield will not help the ERA of Detroit pitchers.

      • Minoring In Baseball - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:22 AM

        Very true about Suarez. That’s what makes him a prospect at this point. And, no, the Tigers infield won’t help anybody. That’s why Porcello struggles to get wins at times. He’s not a ‘strikeout’ pitcher like JV and Max.

      • detroitr1 - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:48 AM

        “The Tigers have top prospects?” Nick Castellanos technically played 3rd before converting to the OF. When Tigers pitching allowed two earned runs in 27 1/3 innings for a 0.66 ERA in 2012 playoffs, do you think that was because of or in spite of the infield? Did the Tigers’ infield help or hurt Verlander when he no-hit Toronto in 2011?

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:59 AM

        Detroit has a couple of DH types manning the corner infield positions plus inferior glove men up the middle. Their starting pitchers have to go for strike outs. They do not dare pitch to contact.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Eugenio Suarez won the Gold Glove last season as the best SS in Minor League Baseball

        He’s not the best SS in MiLB btw. That honor goes to Profar. He might be the best defensive one, but even that’s probably debatable.

  3. darthicarus - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    Phil Coke’s comments are nice & all, but really what does his brain have to say about this?

    • philcokesbrain - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Just wanna help the team…taking it one day at a time…does this look infected to you?!

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