One of the questions surrounding the Washington Nationals’ hiring of Dave Martinez as manager was his lack of experience. Sure, he was Joe Maddon’s top lieutenant as bench coach for 10 seasons, but he had never held the post himself at any level. He’s unproven. The Nationals’ counter? Surround Martinez with seasoned coaches. And in their search to install managerial experience alongside Martinez, the Nationals have hired Oakland Athletics third base coach Chip Hale as bench coach, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Hale, 52, joins hitting coach Kevin Long and third base coach Bob Henley — two coaches with substantial experience — as confirmed members of Martinez’s coaching staff. The positions of pitching coach, first base coach, assistant hitting coach and bullpen coach remain vacated. The Nationals do not have to use the seventh spot on their staff for an assistant hitting coach but have now used it that way for two seasons after allocating the position to a defensive coordinator under Matt Williams.
Hale was a successful manager in the minors — he was named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Class AAA manager in 2006. He later ascended to Diamondbacks manager in 2015, posting a .457 winning percentage across two seasons. Hale also served as Oakland’s bench coach for three seasons before managing in Arizona. He rejoined the Athletics for the 2017 campaign. His managerial experience complements Martinez, who has never managed at any professional level, and Nationals decision-makers hope Hale will also bring a strong voice and competitive edge to Martinez’s staff.
A former infielder, Hale played for the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers across seven seasons. He batted .277 in 333 career games.
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