Former Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale will join new Nationals manager Dave Martinez’s staff as bench coach, according to multiple published reports.
Hale, 52, skippered the D-backs in 2015 and 2016, compiling a 148-176 record (.457) but never finishing higher than third in the National League West in his rookie season. He spent last season as the bench coach on manager Bob Melvin’s A’s staff and was that club’s third base coach for the three seasons before he was hired to pilot the Diamondbacks. Hale was third base coach with the D-backs from 2007 to 2009.
Because Martinez has never managed at any level, it was a foregone conclusion that the Nationals would make sure he was surrounded by experienced coaches. That process began when the Nats hired veteran hitting coach Kevin Long last week. Third base coach Bob Henley, who has filled that role on the staffs of Matt Williams and Dusty Baker, will reportedly return to that job on Martinez’s staff, though the team has yet to officially announce that move.
Hale, who also served as third base coach with the Mets from 2010 to 2011, has substantial experience as a minor league manager. He spent six seasons running teams in the Diamondbacks organization from 2000 to 2002 and 2004 to 2006. His clubs went 405-317 (.561), posting records above .500 in five of his six campaigns. In his last season at the helm of Triple-A Tucson in 2006, his club went 91-53 and Hale was named the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year.
An infielder for seven major league seasons with the Twins and Dodgers, Hale was a career .277/.346/.363 hitter with seven home runs and 78 RBIs. He will likely be tasked with working with Nationals infielders.
The Nationals have yet to name a pitching coach, first base coach, bullpen coach or assistant hitting coach.
The Athletic first reported that Hale was joining the Nationals coaching staff.
* Two Nationals received recognition Wednesday night as Major League Baseball’s Players Choice Awards were announced. Unlike most major awards, these honors are voted on solely by major league players.
Max Scherzer was named as the National League’s Outstanding Pitcher following a season in which he went 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and a league-leading 264 strikeouts. Scherzer and teammate Stephen Strasburg are two of the three finalists for the NL Cy Young Award, along with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Scherzer has won the Cy Young in the American League and NL, taking last year’s honor.
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman was selected as the Comeback Player of the Year in the NL. Coming off a career-worst .218 average in 2016, Zimmerman slashed .303/.358/.573 with team highs of 36 homers and 108 RBIs.