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.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.