Arizona Diamondbacks surprised MLB after announcing Chip Hale as their new manager – a man who wasn't named on the original eight-man shortlist.
Two weeks ago the Diamondbacks revealed their shortlist via Twitter but the list didn't include Hale.
However, Arizona revealed in the manager announcement press conference that their full complement of candidates did in fact include Hale as the ninth name.
The 49-year-old beat Jim Tracy, Sandy Alomar Jr, Jay Bell, Andy Green, Phil Nevin, Turner Wood, Joe McEwing and Don Watamatsu to the Diamondbacks manager post.
Hale replaced Kirk Gibson who was sacked with just three days remaining in the 2014 regular season. The D-backs posted the worst season record in the entire MLB this season, 64-98.
Arizona also fired general manager Kevin Towers for his role in the club’s demise on a franchise record payroll ($112 million). Dave Stewart was named the Diamondbacks' new GM last month as the club looks to rebuild.
Speaking to MLB.com, chief baseball officer Tony La Russa explained: “We were looking for a leader and a guy who loves baseball, and there wasn't a box he [Hale] didn't have checked.”
Hale has spent the last three seasons as Oakland Athletics bench coach under former Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin.
Hale has no previous MLB managerial experience but did manage Arizona’s triple-A affiliate club Tucson Sidewinders for three seasons before being promoted to the coaching staff in the majors in 2006.
In 2009 Hale switched to the New York Mets as third base coach before making his step up to bench coach at the Athletics in October 2011.
Hale said it was a perfect job for him and explained to MLB.com how he planned to turn around the Diamondbacks fortunes.
“We’re going to set a culture here about winning, about having fun, about being competitive in the clubhouse, having pride. And that’s important for me to install in us and get us back to where we belong.”
The Diamondbacks 2015 season will be seen as a completely fresh start. La Russa was hired in the newly-created position of chief baseball officer in May while new GM Stewart and vice president DeJon Watson joined in September.
Having four new names in senior positions is a big gamble for Arizona but it isn’t like they have much to lose going on 2014’s record.