The Oakland Athletics named special defense instructor Ron Washington third base coach for the remainder of the 2015 season. Mike Gallego has been relieved of his duties.
Gallego had been Oakland's infield and third base coach since the 2009 season, but his roles were put in some question after Washington was initially hired on May 21 to work as a special instructor with the major league infielders, particularly shortstop Marcus Semien. At the time, Gallego was realistic about his position after Washington's hire. Reported the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser:
Gallego sees the addition of Washington realistically. He knows he could have been dismissed to make room for Washington, or still could be edged out at some point, maybe after the season.
"You're never too old to learn, and if Wash has some special ideas to straighten out our defensive woes, I'm excited to hear what he has to say," Gallego said, adding with a grin, "and I'll use it at my next job."
Gallego has also struggled this year with being perhaps one of the few third base coaches that are too aggressive in sending runners home. On Sunday, Stephen Vogt was his 19th runner thrown out at the plate, tied with the Detroit Tigers for the major league lead. Before this season, his aggressiveness was lauded such that his sending arm was the subject of a windup toy promotional giveaway, promoting his famed windmill arm.
Indeed, in 2012, Gallego had the fewest runners thrown out at the plate, though that might have been a function of all the home runs the A's hit that year:
A's players out at home since 2009 (#-leads MLB, *-fewest MLB): 20# (2015), 16 (2014), 18 (2013), 7* (2012), 17 (2011), 24 (2010), 14 (2009)— Bill Arnold (@sfgwire) August 24, 2015
Today, Gallego spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle about the timing of the move, "It's a bummer, the timing of it, it would have been a lot cleaner to wait until the end of the season, But we all know that if (general manager) Billy Beane feels he needs to make a move, he makes it, and I respect that, that's the way he always does things."
Ron Washington returns to a uniformed role with the Athletics for the first time since leaving the A's at the end of the 2006 season to become the manager of the Texas Rangers. Washington was not permitted to be in the dugout during games as the A's already had the maximum number of uniformed coaches, though he could be in the clubhouse. He take Gallego's spot on that uniformed coaches list.