Marlins fire John Mallee, name ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez as new hitting coach

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The Marlins must have been inspired by the quick hook that the Rangers gave to rookie hitting coach Thad Bosley on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Marlins’ official Twitter feed, hitting coach John Mallee has been “relieved” of his duties and ESPN baseball analyst Eduardo Perez will take over the gig Thursday.

Mallee was promoted to the role of major league hitting coach in June of last season after spending nine years as a minor league hitting instructor in the Marlins’ farm system. He was drafted as a player by the Phillies in 1991 and hit .208 in 115 career minor league games before hanging up his cleats in ’92.

The Marlins ranked 19th in runs scored, 21st in total hits, 17th in home runs and 15th in team OPS heading into Wednesday’s action and lost to the Braves in extra innings tonight. Rarely would any of that be the hitting coach’s fault, but the front office decided to name a scapegoat and Mallee got the boot just an hour or two after Florida’s defeat. The appeal of adding a “big name” like Perez also probably played a part.

Perez has no major league or minor league coaching experience, but he serves as skipper for Leones De Ponce of the Puerto Rico Baseball League in the winter and won Manager of the Year there in 2008.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays in part of three-team deal

Tampa Bay Rays
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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.