After weeks of waiting, Orioles manager Buck Showalter ultimately landed the third base coach he wanted.
On Wednesday, in an otherwise uneventful afternoon at the winter meetings, the Orioles announced they had completed their 2012 coaching staff, adding DeMarlo Hale as third base coach/infield instructor and Bill Castro as bullpen coach.
They round out a staff that also includes returnees Jim Presley (hitting), Rick Adair (pitching), Wayne Kirby (first base) and John Russell (bench). Showalter said a seventh coach, to be used pre-game during home contests, is still a possibility.
Hale, 50, was on Showalter's coaching staff in Texas from 2003 to 2005. A former first baseman-outfielder in the minors, Hale has spent the past six seasons as a coach for the Boston Red Sox, including four as third base coach and the past two as manager Terry Francona's bench coach.
"He is a really solid baseball guy, and he is capable of doing a lot of things," Showalter said. "He's an experienced third base coach in the American League East. He has been a bench coach [in Boston]. He has a really good knowledge of the American League and the American League East, and that's something we were looking for."
He was Showalter's first choice at third, but Hale had a year left on his contract when Francona was dismissed in October. Hale needed to wait until Boston hired a new manager before he could negotiate out of his deal, which he has.
"Things had to be worked out. My situation there wasn't as defined at this point as much as I would have liked it to have been," Hale said. "The time came to join the Baltimore Orioles. I look forward to it, and I think it is a very good opportunity."
Showalter wanted an experienced third base coach to replace Willie Randolph, and Hale fits that requirement. Long considered a future manager, Hale likely would have been a candidate for the Orioles' managerial job this offseason if Showalter had moved to the front office. If Hale hadn't taken over at third, Kirby likely would have moved there.
"I think Kirby could have done it, but I don't want to keep thinking about it," Showalter said. "I wanted to have a little more proven commodity, and having some familiarity with him is exciting."
Castro, 59, spent 10 seasons as a major league pitcher, almost all as a reliever, with the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals. He spent nearly two decades as a bullpen coach and, at times, a pitching coach with the Brewers. Castro was with Milwaukee when new Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette began his baseball career.
"He is a good bullpen coach," Showalter said. "I think you'd have to look real hard to find a more experienced bullpen coach than him. He has done this for a number of years and is very well respected in the bullpen."
A native of the Dominican Republic, Castro would be the Orioles' lone Spanish-speaking coach. He said that when he joined the Brewers in 1971, there were no programs or people to help him assimilate to a new culture and language, and he understands the importance of having that support system.
"I didn't have that opportunity when I first signed," he said. "And having somebody that [Latin players] can feel comfortable with and talk to, not only about baseball but other things that can relate to you, you feel more comfortable that way. And I think that can be a big help."
Looking at the Rule 5
The last major event during the annual winter meetings is Thursday's Rule 5 draft, in which teams can select certain minor leaguers who have been left off other clubs' 40-man rosters for $50,000. Those players must stay on the selecting team's 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000.
The Orioles have the fourth pick in the Rule 5 draft, behind the Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners, and Duquette said his club is considering drafting someone.
"If you look at what has happened the last couple years, it hasn't been real productive for players going from the minor league teams and then sticking with the major league team," he said. "So you have to do a good job scouting and have to have a little bit of luck involved. In our situation, that could be a good avenue to acquire players."
He wouldn't show the club's hand but said that when things are equal, he always leans toward pitching.
The Orioles added just one minor leaguer to their 40-man roster in anticipation of the draft, so those who could be taken by another team include pitchers Tim Bascom, Steve Johnson and Cole McCurry, infielder Greg Miclat and catcher Caleb Joseph.
Still waiting for a move
Duquette said he had continued conversations with several teams about potential trades Wednesday and is hopeful that at least one deal can be made before he leaves Dallas on Thursday. More than anything, he is searching for pitching, and he showed confidence that a deal was nearing.
"We are trying to put together some pieces, and hopefully we can get something done before we leave here," Duquette said. "We have been working with a couple teams trying to get some pitching and we've made some good progress, so hopefully we can get something done so we can make an addition or two [Thursday]."
Around the horn
Former Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard signed a one-year deal worth $4.5 million with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bedard, 32, was 5-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 24 starts between Seattle and Boston last year. … Free agent Mark Buehrle signed a four-year, $58 million deal with the Miami Marlins. The team, which is moving into a new stadium and has a new name and logo, has also signed shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Heath Bell this week. … The Orioles have not expressed interest in free-agent outfielder Josh Willingham, who looked to be a potential fit in left field.
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