Chris Coghlan has gone from Rookie of the Year winner to afterthought with Marlins

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Chris Coghlan hit .321 to win the Rookie of the Year award in 2009, but has batted just .252 with a .695 OPS in two seasons since then and spent the final three months of this year in the minors.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post asked Marlins president Larry Beinfest where Coghlan fits into the team’s 2012 plans and the answer seemed to indicate that he doesn’t figure prominently:

It’s been disappointing, really, the last two years. I think this is an important offseason and certainly spring training for Chris to get back to where he was when he won the Rookie of the Year. We still see him coming back as an outfielder and in center field.  He needs to re-establish himself healthy which we anticipate he will be with the knee or knees and come in and compete. We already know he can be an offensive force, a great left-handed hitter.

“Great left-handed hitter” is obviously a stretch and based on his minor-league track record Coghlan was playing over his head quite a bit as a rookie, but he’s also still just 27 years old and at the very least would seem to have a future somewhere as a utility man. Whether that future will be with the Marlins is unclear, because Capozzi writes that they’ll be looking for a new center fielder this offseason and speculates that Coghlan will begin 2012 back in the minors unless he’s traded.

Mariners to hire Tim Laker as their hitting coach

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Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that the Mariners plan to hire Tim Laker as their new hitting coach. He’ll replace Edgar Martinez, who has moved into a different role with the club.

Laker has spent the past spent the past two years as the Arizona Diamondbacks assistant hitting coach. Before that he was a coach and manager in the minor league systems of the Indians and White Sox. He, of course, also spent 11 seasons in the Majors as a catcher, playing for the Indians, Expos, Devil Rays, Pirates and Orioles.