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The A’s have a vacancy to fill on their coaching staff as Chip Hale was hired as the new manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.
Hale served the past three seasons as Oakland’s bench coach, serving as the top assistant and sounding board for manager Bob Melvin. Over the past few years, Hale also had developed into a top managerial candidate. He was a finalist to be Seattle’s manager last season before Lloyd McClendon was hired, and was a candidate this offseason for the Minnesota Twins’ job as well.
It’s the first major league managing job for Hale, 49, who attended Campolindo High School in Moraga. The Tucson resident beat out a pool of nine candidates for the job and he has ties to the Diamondbacks organization. He spent six years managing in Arizona’s farm system before joining their big league staff in 2007 under Melvin, who was then managing that club.
“It’s the right place, right time for him,” Melvin said. “He’s very prepared. This is going to be the right place for him. He’s got a history there. The guys in charge know him well. I think it’s just kind of a perfect storm for him. He’s definitely ready to manage.”
As bench coach with the A’s, Hale assisted Melvin with game strategy and took the reins if Melvin was ejected.
His departure leaves a hole for Melvin to fill, and surely Melvin will target someone he’s familiar with for the post.
Current St. Louis Cardinals bench coach Mike Aldrete figures to get consideration. He served as Melvin’s hitting coach for two years with Arizona, and Melvin was eyeing him for the same position with the A’s before hiring Chili Davis leading into the 2012 season. With the Cardinals still alive in the postseason against the Giants, the A’s can’t ask permission to interview Aldrete until their season is over. Aldrete was born in Carmel and makes his offseason home in Salinas, so a move to the Bay Area could have some appeal.
There are logical in-house candidates on Melvin’s current staff, including bullpen coach Darren Bush (a longtime minor league manager), third-base coach Mike Gallego and first-base coach Tye Waller, who served two years as bench coach under former A’s manager Bob Geren.
Davis – who is being linked to hitting coach vacancies with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees – might be a consideration as well.
Another possibility, though perhaps more of a long shot, would be the man Hale replaced as Diamondbacks manager – Kirk Gibson. He served as Melvin’s bench coach in Arizona and the two remain tight, though it’s unknown if Gibson would jump back into a job so quick and if he’d want to accept a bench coach position.