The Blue Jays haven't announced the hiring of DeMarlo Hale as bench coach, but that's the word on the street. I've been told that he's "getting the job." It would take a drastic reversal for Hale to remain as Orioles third base coach.
I wrote last night that Triple-A manager Ron Johnson could emerge as a leading in-house candidate. Another possibility could be Bobby Dickerson, who currently serves as minor league infield coordinator and has filled in as bullpen coach.
Dickerson was a candidate to become the full-time bullpen coach before the Orioles hired Bill Castro.
A background in infield instruction is key, since Hale handled those duties with the Orioles. First base coach Wayne Kirby works with the outfielders.
There's also Brian Graham, who managed nine seasons in the minors and has coached in the majors. However, he's highly regarded in the organization as the coordinator of minor league instruction. He deserves a lot of credit for the improvements made in the farm system.
I don't envision the Orioles putting John Russell back on the field and finding another bench coach. Manager Buck Showalter would rather keep him in the dugout.
If Don Wakamatsu leaves the Blue Jays, he instantly becomes a candidate to replace Hale. He served as Showalter's bench coach in Texas and later served as third base coach under Ron Washington. He's also been a roving catching instructor in the Angels system, which doesn't benefit the Orioles, since Russell works with the catchers here.
What's Sam Perlozzo doing these days? The former Orioles coach and manager is regarded as one of the best infield instructors in baseball.
It's possible that the Orioles add an extra coach who would work with the infielders, but not be in uniform during games. Various teams are doing it with hitting coaches.
Hale is a significant loss for the Orioles. It would be easier to accept if he landed a managing job, but being a bench coach is regarded as a step up the coaching ladder. Money and length of contract also factor into the equation.
Shameless plug alert: I'm joining Tom Davis and Dave Johnson on "Wall to Wall Baseball" today from 11 a.m.-noon on MASN. I'll try to keep the coughing to a minimum.
Update: I'm told that Hale accepted the job as Blue Jays bench coach. He's gone. And that's disappointing to the Orioles.
Forget what I wrote about Johnson. He isn't viewed as a prime candidate to replace Hale because the Orioles value his work as Norfolk manager and he didn't coach much at third base.
Too bad Brian Butterfield took a job as Red Sox third base coach. He most likely would have been Showalter's first choice.