DeMarlo Hale, who had served as the Orioles' third-base coach this past season, is taking a job as bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, an industry source has confirmed.
Hale, the only remaining unsigned coach from Orioles manager Buck Showalter’s staff heading into Thanskgiving, interviewed for the Toronto job earlier this week. The Orioles had extended an offer for Hale to return to the club as third-base coach, but a bench coaching position is seen as a move up.
Hale, who was previously the Red Sox bench coach under former Boston manager Terry Francona, joined Showalter’s staff this past season after Francona was not retained following the 2011 season.
Over the past few weeks, Showalter expressed concern that Hale might be wooed by the prospect of a bench coaching job, especially after Francona was hired as Indians manager and the Red Sox hired former Blue Jays skipper John Farrell, who previously coached alongside Hale in Boston, to be their new manager.
But instead, Hale will head to Toronto to work under new manager John Gibbons, who was hired Tuesday for his second stint with the club.
Hale’s contract with the Orioles had expired, so he was free to speak with other teams. Last month, Hale interviewed to the Red Sox managerial job. Hale also reportedly interviewed for the Blue Jays managerial job when they hired Farrell before the 2011 season.
Losing Hale is significant to the Orioles, who had hoped to have their staff signed by the end of this week. Hale, who also served as infield coach this past season, was well respected by coaches and players. He was one of Showalter’s trusted coaches when it came to pre-game preparedness.
The Orioles will retain their other five coaches, including hitting coach Jim Presley and pitching coach Rick Adair, who agreed to terms with the club over the past week.
Hale's departure now leaves the Orioles to fill his role, a search that might take a while since staffs in Toronto, Boston, and Cleveland have scoured other staffs to assemble their own.
And hiring a third-base coach isn't necessarily an easy matter. There's a physical element they need to manuever around the third-base coaching box and they often come under scrutiny when their calls go wrong.
Although it's too early to predict who will replace Hale on Showalter's staff, some possibilities could include: Steve Smith, Showalter's former third-base coach in Texas; Bobby Dickerson, the Orioles' minor league field coordinator; Brian Graham, the organization's coordinator of minor league instruction; Don Wakamatsu, Showalter's former bench coach in Texas; and a pair of former Orioles infielders, Mike Bordick and Rich Dauer.
Hale’s move was first reported by MLB.com.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times