Chip Hale, ladies and gentlemen, is the new bench coach for the Oakland Athletics. Hale, 46, comes to Oakland after having served as the New York Mets‘ bench coach for the last two seasons.
The bay area native Hale was signed to a two-year contract to serve as Bob Melvin‘s right-hand man. Melvin, who took over for the Athletics’ managing duties after the team fired Bob Geren back in June, worked with Hale before in Arizona while with the Diamondbacks.
It’s the dawn of a new era in Oakland, as the Melvin era is seemingly in full swing. Oakland opted not to bring pitching coach Ron Romanick, bench coach Joel Skinner, and hitting coach Gerald Perry back for 2012. It was figured that Melvin would prefer, as most coaches do, to bring in his own staff.
The Athletics will, however, keep third-base coach Mike Gallego and first-base coach Tye Waller for 2012. Going forward, Oakland’s primary focus, at least, to me, should be improving the defense. The team has a ton of work to do on offense, yes, but their defense was shockingly bad in 2011.
Oakland’s biggest strengths, at least, on paper, heading into 2011 was their defense. Unfortunately, Oakland ranked 2nd in MLB with 124 defensive errors, and looked downright sloppy throughout the season.
Offensively, the A’s will have a few holes to fill. Outfielders Josh Willingham and Coco Crisp might not be back next year. Willingham, who led the team with 29 HR and 98 RBIs, is figured to garner a ton of attention during the offseason. Crisp, meanwhile, will probably get his share of suitors as well.
The A’s have a lot to work on, but with Melvin at the helm, I’m sure the team will look to improve their weaknesses. Melvin will also continue to help round out his coaching staff as well. Anyway, with that, let’s welcome Chip hale.
Welcome to Oakland, Chip Hale!