Before joining the Mets staff last spring, Hale spent the previous nine seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He managed at the Rookie, Double-A, and Triple-A levels for the Diamondbacks between 2000-2006, winning Manager of the Year honors in both the Pioneer League in 2001 and again in the Pacific Coast League in 2006. His Tucson Sidewinders — led by slugger Chris Carter — were PCL champions in 2006. Hale was Arizona’s third base and infield coach from 2007-2009, before joining the Mets in the same role last season. This comes out to a 40 on the coaching experience scale, which is right in the middle of the pack. (It ranged from 9 to 99.)
I’ll take this moment to point out that it was Chip, and not Dale, who acted as the responsible and assertive rescue ranger. I believe this is completely relevant when discussing Hale’s managerial resume.
Hale spent seven seasons in the major leagues as a utility infielder, six with the Minnesota Twins. His best year was 1993, when he posted a .832 OPS in 69 games and played every infield position. He had 0.9 career wins above replacement.
As a minor league manager, Hale exhibited Sandy Alderson-friendly strategies. His teams did not bunt often, had good stolen base percentages, and he did not call for many intentional walks. All these things make me happy. His managerial style comes out to an 8 on the (fictitious) managerial strategy scale, the highest among any of the in-house candidates.
Hale, as some of you might know, developed a reputation as a good third base coach this season. I believe this has far more to do with how hilariously terrible Razor Shines was as a third base coach than anything else. It really was hard to tell if Hale was any good, or if he only appeared so in comparison with Shines. Hale was also the infield coach for a group that saw great defense from Ike Davis, average defense from a rusty Jose Reyes, and painful defense from David Wright. So that’s sort of a wash.
Those things being said, I believe Hale is the internal candidate that makes the most sense. He seems like the sort of manager Alderson would be looking for, based on his “Moneyball” and press conference quotations. Hale has experience managing on the minor league level and coaching at the major league level. His strategies appear to be based on logic and not tradition. He is familiar with the current players, but also hasn’t been around the organization that long — and thus he has avoided being overly tainted with their many, many failures. I’d be content if he were named the new manager.
He also said this about coaching third base, which I like: “It’s hard. You get 27 outs, and you don’t want to make a stupid out somewhere as a coach.”
Managerial Odds: 5 to 1. Hale is a strong candidate, but his lack of major league managerial experience and connection to the previous regime might hurt him.