The inevitable has happened even though it was much earlier than expected. The Oakland Athletics have fired Mike Gallego and named infield coach Ron Washington the new third base coach. Gallego had been with the Athletics organization for 19 seasons and this was his seventh season as a coach for the A’s. Oakland hired Washington in May in order to work specifically with Marcus Semien on his defense. Washington was brought on as an additional infield coach, but it was pretty clear at this point that Gallego’s days were numbered.
Perhaps this decision was due to the fact that two Oakland players ignored Gags’ “stop” signal during Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Thankfully, the A’s won, but those could have been two costly running errors. Even though it was not Gallego’s fault, the fact that the A’s players ignored him could mean that they did not regard Gallego’s expertise at third base very highly. It also brings the number of A’s being thrown out at home up to 19, which ties them with the Detroit Tigers for the most in MLB. It was clear Gallego was likely to be let go, but it still comes as a shock that it happened during the season.
When it comes to Washington, he has been great in regards to working with Semien. Semien has committed less errors as the season drags on and seems to be responding well to Washington’s coaching. However, Semien is not the only young player with whom Washington is currently working.
Outfielder Jake Smolinski is said to get some playing time at first base toward the tail end of this season, a position he has rarely played in his entire baseball career. So, in order to prep him for this new role, it was announced that he would work on his fielding technique with Washington. It was becoming clear that Washington was slowly taking over when it came to coaching the infielders and Gags was merely left with being the coach at third base during games.
Washington has extensive experience as an infield and third base coach. He was a coach for the Oakland Athletics from 1996 – 2006. During this time, he is credited with developing now six-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez’ defensive skills as well as former MVP and A’s shortstop Miguel Tejada’s defense.
The main attribute Washington is known for is working with young players to help improve their defense in the infield. The Athletics certainly have a lot of rookie fielders who will need some mentoring in the coming seasons. However, Washington was once a manager of the Texas Rangers from 2007 – 2014, so the possibility of him leaving sometime in the near future for a managerial position could be possible. Let’s just hope that he is able to make an impression on the A’s players before that happens.
We at Swingin’ A’s wish Gallego the best of luck in his future baseball career.