Possible Manager: DeMarlo Hale

DeMarlo Hale, currently the Boston Red Sox bench coach, began his coaching career in 1992 managing the Red Sox Double-A affiliate. He managed in the Red Sox system at the Single-A and Double-A levels between 1992 and 1999, being named Midwest Manager of the Year in 1995. Hale’s 1999 Trenton Thunder team finished 92-50, and Hale was named Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America and The Sporting News, and also won the Eastern League’s Manager of the Year award. Hale jumped the Rangers organization in 2000, acting as their Triple-A manager in 2000-01 and then the major league team’s first base and outfield coach from 2002-05. Hale came back to the Red Sox organization in 2006, serving as their third base and outfield coach until making the jump into the dugout for 2010. He had an excellent reputation as a third base coach, which is apparently quite common for third base coaches named Hale. All this comes out to a 73 on the managerial experience scale, easily giving DeMarlo Hale the highest score of any candidates without major league managing experience.

Before coaching, Hale spent five years playing in the minor leagues, four seasons in Boston’s system and one in Oakland’s (when Sandy Alderson was GM). He hit .267 with a .364 slugging percentage in 548 minor league games playing first, second, third, and the outfield. Hale never played above the Double-A level, and thus did not reach the major leagues. This happened because he wasn’t any good.

Hale didn’t seem to have a distinct strategical style managing in the minor leagues a decade ago. Some of his teams were good running the bases, some were not. He bunted often in some years, and less in others. Sometimes his pitching staff would be near the top in intentional walks, sometimes near the bottom. He seemed to base his strategies on the strengths and weaknesses of each individual team. He gets a 6 on the managerial strategy scale, but it’s really arbitrary this time around.

Interestingly, Hale appears open to modern (read: intelligent) baseball thought. As the first base coach in Texas, Hale preached the importance of stolen base percentage, saying, “You don’t want to run into outs now because of the possibility of the long ball … A lot of it depends on the situation, but steal percentage is really the key.” He told Baseball-Prospectus radio earlier this year that he believes advanced statistics can be a tool. “[If it can] affect you doing your job in a positive way, I’m all for it … I think there is a place for it.”

If that made him sound a bit too nerd-friendly for some of you, here’s a video of Hale taking James Shields to the ground hard in a brawl at Fenway Park back in 2008.

Hale, who is a minority, has interviewed for several managerial positions already. He interviewed with Texas in 2002, Boston in 2003, Arizona in 2004, Seattle in 2008, was a finalist for Toronto’s vacancy last month, and now the Mets. Hale has ten years of experience managing in the minor leagues, and nine coaching in the major leagues. His manager experience score of 73 is higher than the 54 of Don Wakamatsu and comparable to Bob Melvin’s 76, and only Terry Collins (99) and Clint Hurdle (104) have significantly higher scores among candidates the Mets are interviewing. Hale has more than enough experience to manage major league players. He just needs an opportunity.

Managerial Odds: 4 to 1. I have no idea why, but I have a good feeling about DeMarlo Hale’s chances with the Mets. I like that he would be a new face for a mostly unchanged team in 2011. Although he hasn’t managed in the majors yet, Hale also hasn’t been fired as a manager, either. He sounds willing to buy into an organization’s philosophy, something the Mets now have. I like everything I’ve read about him.

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