Does Phil Coke have a hidden stash of cigarettes he uses to keep Jim Leyland happy? Does he have some sort of inside information on one of the leadership in the organization that allows him to avoid being DFA’d? There has to be something outside of the world of baseball that is keeping Coke employed by the Detroit Tigers as it is simply not based on any strategic logic. Coke’s ERA is 5.40, or as that is typically known in baseball as “See you in Japan!” Yet, still here he is and still he destroys.
When Coke comes into a game, you can hear an audible gasp from the stands like a giant bug has entered and as much as you want to get rid of it, it still stays around no matter how many times it gets hit or gives up runs. OK, that last part was just Phil Coke, but the point remains that every Tigers fan realizes what needs to be done with Coke, yet management unwaveringly supports him. If this was a one-time occurrence, I think Tigers fans would accept it as just a short lapse in judgment, but having just gone through a two-year saga with Jose Valverde, you would think something, anything, would have been learned about riding it out with someone who continuously fails.
You somewhat expect it from Leyland, who hasn’t met a player he would like to cut. Leyland treats his players like his children and no matter how many times they fail, they can never do wrong in his eyes. But how does Dave Dombrowski let this happen? How does Mike Ilitch allow his Ferrari to be driven by a relief pitcher who resembles the shady valet who you know is going to take your car out for a joy ride. Tigers fans wish they had answers.