In the latest Washington Nationals rumors this winter, bench coach Chip Hale appears to be a candidate for the Baltimore Orioles managerial role.
While the Washington Nationals have been very active so far this winter, their beltway rivals could be about the enter the fray. In the latest Nationals rumors, Chip Hale has reportedly been identified as a candidate to take the Baltimore Orioles manager’s job.
Hale was brought in with Nats manager Dave Martinez after the firing of Dusty Baker last offseason. The front office hoped that having a bench coach with big league managerial experience would benefit the rookie manager as he got to grips being top dog.
Evidently, that’s a quality that the Orioles value, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Hale will interview for the O’s job. Rosenthal says that he’s one of at least six to interview for the post, but the only other mentioned by name is Chicago Cubs bench, Brandon Hyde.
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With the Orioles seemingly in a full-blown rebuild, it makes sense that they want a somewhat experienced manager at the helm to guide the new generation through. But, while Hale does have that experience, it may not end up being a huge plus in his column during the interview process.
Hale’s two-year stint as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks wasn’t particularly pretty, finishing year one with a record of 79-83 and then being fired after a 69-93 season back in 2016. Then, after a year with Oakland Athletics as their third base coach, he made his switch to D.C. during last offseason.
However, in 2018, Chip Hale didn’t seem to display much chemistry with Dave Martinez in the dugout as the two struggled as a pairing in their first season together. Martinez didn’t have a say in his hiring, and it evidently showed, so losing Hale wouldn’t exactly be a bitter pill to swallow if he goes to Baltimore.
It’s too early to speculate about potential replacements, but Martinez has previously mentioned his close relationship with bullpen Henry Blanco, who could be an option to succeed Blanco. The other option would be Martinez and Mike Rizzo once again searching for a bench coach who has experience managing in the majors such as former Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor.
They could even look to a bit of a wildcard option such as Sam Fuld, who Martinez helped coach during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays. Fuld was recently linked with the Texas Rangers managerial opening, so he’s held in high regard already and could be a popular appointment should Hale leave.
This will be an interesting situation to monitor over the next few weeks to see where these Nationals rumors play out. Chip Hale may well be back at Nationals Park next season, but it may be in the opposite dugout during the beltway series.