UPDATE: John Hickey of AOL Fanhouse gathered quotes from veterans Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Sweeney on the firing. Here’s Griffey:
“Let’s not go there. I have no comment.”
“It’s brutal. There are a lot of guys in here who deserve to get fired before him.”
Sounds like the Mariners, or at least those two vets, are a little embarrassed about the way they’ve struggled this year, and how those struggles have now cost Cockrell his job.
2:35pm: The Mariners cut ties with hitting coach Alan Cockrell on Sunday morning, according to Jim Street of MLB.com.
The M’s have an American League-worst 617 OPS through 30 games this season and have scored fewer runs than 28 of baseball’s 30 teams. Oh, and they’ve also lost eight straight games. Most of that has nothing do with Cockrell, but someone had to be the scapegoat.
Cockrell started his major league coaching career with the Rockies in 2002 as a special instructor and was hired as their full-time hitting coach in November of 2006. He was named Seattle’s hitting coach in the winter of 2008, but now that’s all over. Alonzo Powell will be promoted from Triple-A to take over the post for the time being. We’ll see if he’s any better at willing hits out of millionaire baseball players.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.