DeMarlo Hale has an AL East pedigree, having done most of his coaching work for Toronto's divisional rivals. The Chicagoan spent four years in the minor league systems of the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics, making it up to AA by 23 but never rising any higher. When his playing days ended, Hale went to work for the Bucky Dent baseball school as an instructor for a few years.
In 1993, the Red Sox came calling and made Hale the manager of their Florida State League team. Hale was successful in the lower minors and the Red Sox rewarded him by making him manager of their then-AA team, the Trenton Thunder. 1999 wasn't just an amazing Prince record, it was a great year for Hale as he managed the Thunder to a a league-best 92-50 record, was asked to coach the United States in the Futures Game, and was selected as minor league manager of the year by pretty much every national baseball publication.
Predictably, success brought additional responsibility and for Hale that meant a higher level of play. He managed the Rangers' AAA team for two seasons, instructed at Spring Training, and then became the Rangers first base coach and outfield instructor, jobs he continued through 2005.
Hale re-joined the Red Sox organization in 2006 as third-base coach, and then bench coach in 2009. The Blue Jays reportedly considered Hale back in the 2010 offseason before selecting a different Red Sox coach, John Farrell. I'm not sure how close they were to picking him, but some sources had him as a finalist. When he wasn't selected for a big-league job, Hale switched organizations to become the Baltimore Orioles' third-base coach, a job he has performed for two seasons. Hale has been very well-regarded in Baltimore, and was heralded by Buck Showalter as one of the Orioles orgnization's best moves even before Baltimore started winning games. Even still, the past few offeseasons have been one of some disappointment to Hale: he didn't get the Blue Jays job in the 2010 offseason, Boston didn't interview him last offseason because he was too close to departing manager Terry Francona, and this season he interviewed for Boston's manager before the gig was given to John Farrell. Lou Merloni, the former Red Sox player and a former player of Hale's, had some very nice things to say about Hale.
It is hard to say what to expect from a guy who has never managed a big league team. He seems to build good relationships with his players, but of course there are some significant difference between doing that at the minor league level and at the major league level. Still, his minor-league experience could be a good fit for a young Blue Jays' team. I don't think anyone could naysay Hale's baseball knowledge. I'd prefer someone with experience managing in the big leagues, but maybe his chance for managing in the bigs is long overdue and Toronto is the right place for him. What do you all think?