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.
Free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas is drawing interest from at least four clubs, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Friday. The Brewers are the presumed frontrunners to land the infielder, but Heyman adds that the Angels may take the inside edge as Moustakas hails from the San Fernando Valley and has invested in charity efforts in California over the last year. The Phillies and Padres, on the other hand, have been involved to a lesser degree as they’re both thought to be in hot pursuit of fellow free agent third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though their interest in the veteran Moustakas could ramp right back up should they lose out on Machado in the weeks to come.
Moustakas, 30, declined a $15 million mutual option with the Brewers at the end of the 2018 season, and like many others left on the market, has yet to find a landing spot in advance of spring training. While he’s several years removed from his last All-Star performance, he ran a decent campaign with the Royals and Brewers last year, slashing a combined .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs, a .774 OPS, and 2.4 fWAR across 635 plate appearances.
He certainly appears to be a fit in Anaheim, where he could supplant Zack Cozart at the hot corner and balance out the Angels’ right-heavy lineup alongside Kole Calhoun, Justin Bour, and Tommy La Stella. Even if the Angels have serious interest in the third baseman, however, they’re likely to wait and see what kind of contract Machado (and the as-yet unsigned Bryce Harper) fetches before extending any serious offers of their own. They’re far from the only club to use the four-time All-Star as a litmus test this offseason, which has only fueled a growing unrest among MLB players who believe that more serious action — such as a midseason walk-out or a league-wide strike — will need to be taken over the next few months.