UPDATE: M's fire hitting coach Alan Cockrell

5 Comments

Mariners logo.gifUPDATE:  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.”

And Sweeney:

“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.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
41 Comments

In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.