The Marlins’ and Fox Sports Florida’s search to replace ousted TV analyst Tommy Hutton ended Friday with a decision to split the package among three former big-leaguers with Marlins ties: Al Leiter, Eduardo Perez and Preston Wilson.
Leiter and Wilson played for the Marlins, with Leiter throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history and going 11-9 for the Marlins’ 1997 championship team.
Perez was the Marlins’ hitting coach from June 2011 through the 2012 season.
Fox and the Marlins originally preferred to find one analyst to work the entire 150-game package alongside Rich Waltz, according to a source with direct knowledge. But some of the most appealing candidates, including Leiter and Perez, were available for only partial packages.
Leiter will continue to work some Yankees games on YES Network and make appearances on MLB Network, while Perez will remain an ESPN analyst.
Brett Opdyke, Fox Sports Florida’s executive producer, said it’s undetermined how many games will be handled by each analyst or who would work the most, though he said Leiter is expected to announce fewer than 50.
He wouldn’t rule out occasionally using three in the booth — Waltz and two of the analysts.
“This is new for us,” Opdyke said. “We’ve gone the traditional route a long time. It’s something we saw as a cool opportunity, fresh perspective. We’re looking at a full series [at a time], so the fan at home isn’t [hearing] a new guy every night. We don’t see any downside.”
Leiter, 49, pitched three seasons for the Marlins, finishing 162-132 in a 19-year career.
“You feel the energy when he’s broadcasting the game,” Opdyke said. “He’s a guy with a great national perspective.”
Perez, 46 — who played 14 big-league seasons as a first baseman, third baseman and outfielder — was released from the Marlins coaching staff after 2012, then spent a season as Houston’s bench coach in 2013 and worked for ESPN the past two seasons, his second stint with the network.
“He’s an excellent, excellent broadcaster,” Opdyke said.
Wilson, 44, played for the Marlins for 4 1/2 years of a 10-year career in which he hit .264 with 189 homers and 668 RBI. Though he has worked a few games in the booth, he primarily has served as a studio analyst on Marlins cablecasts and will continue in that role when he’s not calling games.
“Preston has outstanding vision for the game,” Opdyke said. “He’s excitable and really enjoys what he’s doing.”
Fox did not make any of the new announcers available for comment and has consistently declined to explain the decision to drop Hutton after 19 seasons, though multiple sources said the Marlins thought he was too at negative at times.
Seeking veteran left-handed relief depth beyond Mike Dunn, the Marlins agreed to a deal with Craig Breslow, 35, who is 22-27 with a 3.31 ERA and eight saves in 11 seasons.
He pitched the past four seasons with the Red Sox and went 0-4 with a 4.15 ERA in 2015. He will make $1.5 million if he makes the team, according to Boston radio station WEEI.