The Mets fire a bunch of coaches … including Mookie!

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UPDATE: Chip Hale has been hired by the Athletics. Quick work, there, Chip!

3:50 PM: The Mets announced a few minutes ago that bench coach Ken Oberkfell, third base coach Chip Hale, first base coach Mookie Wilson, and bullpen coach Jon Debus won’t be with the the major league club in 2012.  It’s not clear yet if they’ve all been canned for good or are just being reassigned.  Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.com reports that Hale was invited back to the team in another role for 2012 but declined.

I never know what to think of these kinds of things. Hitting coaches and pitching coaches at least have some tenuous metric by which they are judged (even if it’s hard to find a connection between their coaching and the metrics).  Maybe a third base coach who has a lot of runners shot down at the plate needs to be reassigned.  It’s a little harder for first base coaches and bullpen coaches, I presume.  Often times, however, these guys have other duties besides those.  For example, Andy Martino reports:

Sources say there were concerns about Wilson’s work preparing OF defense, particularly Duda.

Other first base coaches work on base running and stuff too.  Kind of a catch-all coach.  Mookie probably did an OK job patting the base runner on the tush and collecting the shin guards, but didn’t exactly excel in other areas. It happens.  Even to guys with cool names like Mookie.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.