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Wednesday, October 17, 2012
DeMarlo Hale perfect fit for Red Sox

By Joe McDonald
ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox managerial search continues on Thursday when Baltimore Orioles third-base coach DeMarlo Hale becomes the fourth interviewee for the vacant position.

The Red Sox already have interviewed Los Angeles Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach, New York Yankees bench coach Tony Pena and San Diego Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, who had his session on Wednesday.

The 43-year-old Ausmus was a catcher in the majors for 18 seasons and has been a special assistant to the Padres since 2010. He is the only one of the four candidates without experience as a coach or manager.
Adam Jones, DeMarlo Hale
DeMarlo Hale (with outfielder Adam Jones) was a big part of the Orioles' surprising success this season.

While all are considered solid baseball people, the Red Sox should end their search and name Hale as their next manager.

A former Red Sox third-base coach and bench coach under Terry Francona, Hale has the perfect down-to-earth baseball mentality. He understands the game in every aspect, but more importantly, he knows what it takes to win in Boston. He's not flashy, but he knows the players and knows how to get the most out of them on a daily basis.

Among this group of candidates, Hale is the most qualified for the Red Sox job.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington made an interesting comment to ESPNBoston.com about the club's managerial search on the day the team fired Bobby Valentine. Cherington said the team would choose the right person for the job, which is obvious, but then added that someone who might not have been the right person for this job in the past could be the right person now.

That person should be Hale.

Hale was not interviewed a year ago because the Red Sox felt he was too close to Francona. That being the case, the Red Sox would be hypocritical if they were to hire current Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell since he also has a close relationship with Francona.

Either way, Hale decided to leave the Red Sox organization after 2011 and it didn't take him long to land a job as the third-base coach with Baltimore.

The Orioles played outstanding baseball in 2012 and battled with the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East until the last day of the season. Without a doubt, Hale's presence on Buck Showalter's staff was a big reason for the team's success.

Many major league personnel agree Hale would do a solid job for the Red Sox, in both the dugout and the clubhouse. He's been a member of the Red Sox organization for the majority of his career at various levels, including playing, coaching and managing.

Even though many Red Sox players had issues with Valentine during the 2012 season, the feeling is that the team's veterans are professional and responsible enough to play for anyone as long as there is mutual respect.

Hale already has earned that respect and could succeed as manager in Boston.

After his playing days, Hale became a minor league manager in the Red Sox organization at age 31 for Class A Fort Lauderdale in 1993. He remained in the Sox's minor league system for seven seasons and worked as high as Double-A Trenton between 1997 and 1999.

The Texas Rangers then hired Hale as their Triple-A manager for two seasons before he was promoted to the big leagues and served as the club's first-base coach. Hale returned to the Red Sox organization in 2006 and served as the team's third-base coach before he was named bench coach under Terry Francona in 2009.

Because Hale already has first-hand experience working in Boston, the transition would be relatively smooth and quick.

During a recent "Baseball Tonight" broadcast on ESPN, Francona said Hale would be a good choice because of his connections to the Red Sox organization and the solid relationships he has with the players, including Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and Will Middlebrooks.

Longtime baseball man Dick Berardino has worked in the Red Sox organization for 45 years. He's known Hale since the Red Sox selected him in the 17th round of the 1983 draft. Since then Berardino has served as a mentor for Hale.

"I certainly have a little bit of prejudice because I've known him for so long, but at the same time, because I've known him for so long I can say the things I want to say," Berardino said. "I think he's a great candidate for the managerial job.

"He's got enough experience at both the minor and major league levels as far as dealing with and handling players. He'll have instant credibility with the team, because I know how they felt about him when I was around the ballpark and he was coaching here for a number of years with Tito.

"He knows the game, and the biggest thing is he's a tremendous human being and he knows how to deal with people in a way in which he can get the most out of them. He has sort of an inner toughness. He's not the in-your-face type of guy, but when he wants to send a message, he knows how to send it without embarrassing the player.

"That's why he gets players to play hard for him. I know he put out a lot of brush fires for Tito when he was here, and if you talk to anyone in that clubhouse who's been around him, they'll say the same thing I'm telling you.

"It's his time. Whether it's in Boston or somewhere else, I don't know. I just think he's a great candidate for the job."

Hale's not just a great candidate for the managerial job with the Red Sox, he's the perfect one.