The Diamondbacks announced on Twitter that manager Chip Hale has named Nick Ahmed as the team’s starting shortstop and Chris Owings as the starting second baseman. As a result, veteran Aaron Hill will be relegated to a bench role. The D-Backs are actively trying to trade Hill, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Hill, 33, is owed $12 million for the 2015 season and $12 million next season as well, a portion of which the Diamondbacks would be expected to cover. Hill missed considerable time in 2013 due to a fracutred hand and missed several games throughout the 2014 season due to various ailments, though none resulted in a stint on the disabled list. Nevertheless, given Hill’s age and health history, he would be considered an injury risk.
Ahmed, 25, hit his way into a starting role by batting .328 over 58 at-bats in Cactus League play. Owings hit only .244 in 41 at-bats.
Last week there was a report that the San Diego Padres were doing “due diligence” on former Rangers manager and current Braves third base coach Ron Washington in connection with their managerial opening. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports today that Washington has already had an interview and that, in fact, the Padres are planning to call him back for a second round.
Also getting a second look: Rangers field coordinator Jayce Tingler. Which suggests that GM A.J. Preller, formerly a Rangers assistant GM, is favoring guys he knows from his time in Texas.
Washington managed the Texas Rangers from 2007 into 2014, winning two pennants and compiling a record of 664-611 (.521). He stepped down for personal reasons but since then has returned to the job in which he made his considerable reputation: coaching, specifically coaching infielders, and has gotten rave reviews. Assuming he’s back up for the grind of managing — and he wouldn’t be interviewing if he was not — he is definitely someone based on results and reputation who deserves another shot at the helm.
Tingler, a former Rangers farm hand, has coached in their organization at both the minor and major league levels for 12 years.