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Oakland A’s hire Al Pedrique as 1st base coach

The 2018 coaching staff now appears complete.

Pedrique demonstrating how to run, to 1st base or otherwise.
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s have hired Al Pedrique as their new 1st base coach, the team announced Monday. To make room at the position, the incumbent 1st base coach Mike Aldrete will shift to the role of assistant hitting coach. The previous assistant hitting coach, Marcus Jensen, will fill the final vacancy on the staff by becoming the bullpen coach.

Oakland’s 2018 coaching staff now looks like this:

Manager: Bob Melvin
Bench: Ryan Christenson
1st base: Al Pedrique
3rd base: Matt Williams
Pitching: Scott Emerson
Bullpen: Marcus Jensen
Hitting: Darren Bush
Asst Hitting: Mike Aldrete
Quality Control?: Mark Kotsay

Much like Matt Williams, the A’s other recent hiring, Pedrique began his MLB coaching career with the Diamondbacks. He became Arizona’s 3rd base coach in 2004, and midway through that year he took over as the interim manager in place of Bob Brenly. Pedrique finished out the club’s wretched 111-loss season, and was replaced that winter by none other than Bob Melvin. (Well, initially it was supposed to be Wally Backman taking over, but click here to remember how that turned out.)

After leaving Arizona, Pedrique found his way to the Astros organization. In 2009 he became Houston’s 3rd base coach, and from 2010-11 he stepped up and served as their bench coach.

His next stop took him to the Yankees organization, where he spent the last five seasons as a minor league manager. The last two of those seasons came with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barr RailRiders, and in 2016 the club won the International League title and went on to capture the national Triple-A championship over El Paso of the Pacific Coast League. Pedrique had hoped to put his name into the hat for New York’s managerial vacancy this winter, but the job ended up going to Aaron Boone.

A few neat facts:

  • When Pedrique managed the D’Backs in 2004, he became the second Venezuelan native ever to hold that position in MLB. The first was Ozzie Guillen, who a few months earlier had begun his long stint skippering the White Sox.
  • Unfortunately, the biggest story during his time as a manager was a negative one. Barry Bonds came to town looking for his 700th career home run, and Pedrique repeatedly had him walked with the stated goal of not letting Bonds get the big hit against his team. The national media was displeased, but years later he stood by his decision. 100 FTG Troll Points awarded for messing with the Giants.
  • As a player, Pedrique was a shortstop who played in the bigs from 1987-89, mostly for the Pirates (also briefly the Mets and Tigers). His claim to fame came off the field, though, as he was chosen as the NL’s All-Star shortstop on the Nintendo video game R.B.I. Baseball. He’d enjoyed a vaguely promising rookie campaign in ‘87, which must have prompted the game designers to gamble on the seeming up-and-comer rather than fellow youngster Barry Larkin or real-life All-Stars Ozzie Smith or Hubie Brooks. Whoops!

One final note: It’s pronounced ped-REE-kay.

Hot takes

I don’t know much about Pedrique, but I like this choice, even beyond my normal stance of trusting Bob Melvin in regard to his coaching hires.

In particular, I like his recent minor league success. He just spent a bunch of years working with the young Yankees core that has now developed into an MLB contender, and he even won a championship with them in the minors. Reminds me of Ryan Christenson, who did the same with the A’s upcoming core and is now Oakland’s bench coach. Hopefully that means Pedrique will be a good fit helping to mentor a young, inexperienced team.

Pedrique has a long resume in the minors, and he’s been all the way to the top of the ladder in MLB between managing one team and serving as bench coach for another. He’s got the Arizona connection with Melvin, which we keep seeing over and over. We hang on to Aldrete, whom I also like. This all sounds good.

Welcome, Al!