Just last week, the first dominoes began to fall regarding the Toronto Blue Jays' coaching staff for the 2024 season. Amongst a slew of different announcements, Gabriel Martinez was confirmed to be returning as hitting coach and Carlos Febles officially became the new third base coach.
As the adjustments continue to come, the Blue Jays announced on X that old friend DeMarlo Hale is back in the organization after previously functioning as the team's bench coach from 2013-2018. Most recently, he spent time on the big league coaching staffs of the Atlanta Braves (2020) and Cleveland Guardians (2021-2023).
Hale, 62, will be re-joining the club as its "assistant manager", a term that is not typically seen around the game of baseball. If anything, a team's bench coach is considered a secondary manager, but Don Mattingly will return as the Blue Jays' bench coach in 2024, so Hale's position is a new one.
A former player whose career never made it past Double-A in 1988, Hale has become one of the most respected coaches in the game and is going to be a huge (re)addition for the Blue Jays. His familiarity with the organization and its front office will come in handy, especially if John Schneider flounders early in the upcoming regular season.
In the meantime, Schneider will return to the helm in 2024 as planned. "DeMarlo brings a passion, toughness, experience, and a history of winning to our coaching staff", he said in a statement released by the Blue Jays. "Adding his voice and intensity to our environment is going to be beneficial for an already close-knit of staff and players. We are looking forward to DeMarlo's immediate impact on this team heading into the 2024 season."
Hale is also excited for the opportunity. In the statement from the Jays, he said, "When the opportunity came up to return to Toronto in this role, it felt like a good fit. My familiarity with the field staff and other departments will help make a smooth transition and continue to help impact this organization's success."
While Mattingly is currently expected to return to the Blue Jays next year, it's worth wondering whether Hale's return has anything to do with Mattingly being a candidate to become the Milwaukee Brewers' new manager.