As we’ve learned on more than one occasion this off-season already, most clubs deal with the employment status of members of their coaching staff on a year-to-year basis, meaning that– thanks to an abnormally late-coming managerial search– guys like Bruce Walton and Don Wakamatsu remain in limbo, waiting for formal offers to be part of the Jays’ coaching staff next year. In Wakamatsu’s case, however, such a call may not be coming, as the Baltimore Orioles had similarly yet to finalize their staff, and it appears as though DeMarlo Hale is headed to take Wak’s now-former position as the Jays’ bench coach:
DeMarlo Hale is likely headed to TOR to serve as bench coach, source says. The Orioles had hoped to retain him at 3B, but not looking good.
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) November 24, 2012
Roch Kubatko of MASN is reporting it as well, explaining that “Hale was the last remaining unsigned coach, and the Orioles made him an offer to return next season,” but the Jays will hire him “as their bench coach, according to two industry sources. One source said Hale could receive a three-year contract.”
If true, that’s certainly some job security for Hale, who had served as bench coach and third base coach for Terry Francona in Boston, prior to joining Buck Showalter in Baltimore, after having also worked under him in Texas. And it’s especially interesting, given that John Gibbons reportedly only received a two-year deal, plus an option. (Again if true.)
Hale was rumoured to be in the running to replace both John Farrell this time, and Cito Gaston the last time the Jays had a managerial vacancy, with Alex Anthopoulos electing both times to go with a more MLB-experienced skipped– though Hale certainly has paid his dues at lower levels, having managed a pair of second place teams in the PCL in two years in the Rangers organization, winning a Midwest League manager of the year award, managing Baseball America’s Minor League Team of the Year in 1999 while at Double-A Trenton, then in the Red Sox organization, among other experience, as noted on his Orioles.com bio page.
Most importantly, as the O’s third base coach it was Hale’s duty to work with the infielders, says Kubatko, meaning that by acquiring him the Jays have now a well-respected replacement for their own long-tenured infield instructor and third base coach, Brian Butterfield.
Butter, of course, jumped to Boston– reportedly, at first, when it became clear that he wasn’t going to be considered as the Jays’ next manager, though he suggested this week that he was, in fact, in the running right up until the end, and accepted John Farrell’s offer to hedge in case Anthopoulos again looked elsewhere.
This does not necessarily mean the end for Wakamatsu’s days on the Jays’ staff, but if he were to stay it would be in a reduced– or at the very least different– role than he held last season. Wak seemed to be well liked, and has an excellent resume in his own right, so perhaps we should be disappointed if that turns out to be the case, but… fuck if I know whether he or any of the coaches were any good at their jobs or not.
Kubatko suggests that Buck Showalter originally had wanted Wakamatsu on his staff, so maybe they end up in an inadvertent swap. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But it seems a fine pickup, given the loss of Butterfield and Hale’s experience with the infielders.