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.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.