The Red Sox did exactly what had been rumored pretty much since their former manager, Bobby Valentine, criticized Kevin Youkilis earlier this year. They arranged for John Farrell to become their new manager.
Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale interviewed for the job, but the Red Sox made their decision a long time ago. They just needed to complete the rare player-for-manager trade with the Blue Jays, which they did by sending Mike Aviles to Toronto.
The first time I ever heard of such a deal happening in baseball was back in November 1976, when the Pirates sent catcher Manny Sanguillen and $100,000 to the Athletics for manager Chuck Tanner. Sounded crazy to me at the time - until the Pirates rallied from a 3-1 deficit in games to beat the Orioles in the 1979 World Series.
Sanguillen was the Pirates’ catcher in 1971 when they defeated the Orioles in the World Series, also winning Game 7 in Baltimore.
The A’s traded him back to Pittsburgh after one season, and he contributed a tie-breaking RBI single off Don Stanhouse in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the ‘79 Series.
Yes, you can blame A’s owner Charlie Finley for the ‘79 Series. If he had just held onto Sanguillen, or if he had just kept Tanner in the dugout.
The Blue Jays need a replacement for Farrell and Hale was a finalist for the job back in 2010. He could interview again, but he’s most likely going to be coaching third base again for the Orioles next season.
That’s a shame and a blessing.
Hale deserves a shot at managing and the Orioles wouldn’t stand in his way. Buck Showalter thinks he would be an outstanding choice and has endorsed him through the press on multiple occasions this year. But Hale also showed why he’s highly regarded as a third base coach. He’s the best one in Baltimore since Sam Perlozzo.
Hale rarely left himself open for second-guessing. And having a runner thrown out at the plate doesn’t always mean the coach made a poor decision, as Showalter has stressed in the past.
Showalter indicated on the day after the Orioles lost Game 5 of the American League Division Series that he wanted all of his coaches back in 2013.
“They did a great job,” he said. “It’s as good a coaching staff as I’ve ever had. It’s one of the things Dan (Duquette) and I will start to talk about. I know we want to get that taken care of. That should be a short conversation.”
If that’s true, you can expect Hale, bench coach John Russell, first base coach Wayne Kirby, hitting coach Jim Presley, pitching coach Rick Adair and bullpen coach Bill Castro to return next season.
The Orioles batted .195/.236/.270 in the playoffs, but Presley isn’t going to take the fall. It’s up to Duquette to find ways to improve on their .311 on-base percentage this season, which ranked 23rd in the majors. Home runs are nice - the Orioles hit 214 of them in the regular season, second only to the Yankees’ 245 - but they can’t live and die with the longball.
Showalter would love to have Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson on his staff, but only if a spot opened up that he could fill. The Orioles also think highly of Tides pitching coach Mike Griffin, but they passed up the chance to make him the pitching coach or bullpen coach last winter, deciding that he was too valuable working with the Triple-A arms.
Mike Bordick, another Showalter favorite, lacked experience coaching third base, and the Orioles didn’t want to move Kirby across the diamond.