It looks like the Baltimore Orioles will need to find a new third base coach moving forward from 2013 on. It’s being reported by several outlets that DeMarlo Hale has been hired as the new bench coach of the Toronto Blue Jays. This kind of move isn’t totally unexpected, as when a team shows improvement like the Orioles did in 2012 it would seem natural that people would want to pick guys off the coaching staff. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that Hale’s going to be the only coach that won’t be returning, as the Orioles will return five of their six coaches in 2013.
This means that Buck Showalter will need to hire a new third base/infield coach. The question is, who’s out there? Don Wakamatsu is the guy whom Hale is replacing, so he’s an option, as might be Norfolk Tides manager Ron Johnson. This is going to sound a bit far fetched, but here’s a name I’d like to throw out into the mix: Eddie Murray. Murray’s been out of baseball for a few years, however when Murray’s statue was unveiled at Camden Yards in August I remember Jim Palmer saying that he encouraged Murray to return to baseball in some fashion as early as 2013. Granted throwing Murray’s name out there is partly an emotional tie to the past for Orioles fans, however Murray has coached before so it would hardly be new to him. I don’t think for one moment that Murray will be considered, however I would submit that the Orioles should have him on their list.
In other news, Buck Showalter was named the Major League Manager of the Year for 2012 by the Boston chapter of the BBWAA. Over Thanksgiving I had a few relatives and friends ask me if I felt that Showalter was robbed of the main award when it was announced. (I had one friend who told me that I took an overly objective approach in saying that Showalter and Bob Melvin were equally as deserving.) As I’ve said, I think that Buck Showalter deserved the award, however Melvin did as well. Had Ventura taken the honors I definitely would have thought that something weird was up. However I can’t fault the writers for voting for the manager of a team that won their division on the last day of the season in dramatic fashion, especially when they weren’t meant to do anything that year. I might even submit that when circumstances prevented the Orioles from being granted a formal “celebration” in front of their fans in clinching a playoff spot and Oakland won their division in dramatic fashion, that decided the vote right there. Chalk that up to the human element in the vote if you will. MLB Network’s sabremetrics said that Showalter should be the winner, but the ballots are cast by people, not computers. While I do wish that those writers had voted for Buck Showalter instead of Bob Melvin, I don’t feel that they picked the wrong guy. The fact of the matter is that they were both the right guy.