The Miami Marlins made another step in their coaching staff makeover Thursday, hiring former Yankee first baseman Tino Martinez as their hitting coach. He joins recently-hired manager Mike Redmond as the newest hires on the Marlins bench.
The team announced the hiring on Thursday afternoon. Martinez' job will be to improve the Marlins' numbers at the plate, which were very disappointing in 2012.
The Marlins had the fourth lowest batting average in the National League last season (.244, the lowest in franchise history), scoring the second fewest runs in the NL. Their problems at the plate were even more dire with men in scoring position, when the Marlins hit .234 in 1,324 at bats.
This will be Martinez' first job as a coach at the professional level since he retired after the 2005 season. He has served as a special instructor in the Yankees organization, in addition to a special assistant to New York general manager Brian Cashman. Martinez has also been an analyst for Yankees games broadcast on the YES Network.
The Marlins were not the only team pursuing Martinez. The Boston Red Sox held preliminary talks with Martinez earlier this week, and were reportedly planning on interviewing him to be their hitting coach.
Martinez played 16 seasons in the majors, with the Seattle Mariners, Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Rays. He finished his career with a .271 batting average, .471 slugging percentage, and 339 home runs. He won four World Series rings with the Yankees and finished second in AL MVP voting in 1997.
Martinez replaces Eduardo Perez, who was hired midway through the 2011 season to replace fired hitting coach John Mallee. While the effectiveness of hitting coaches at improving a team's batting average is debatable, it should be noted that Martinez' career batting average far exceeds that of Perez, by a margin of .271 to .247.