walt-weiss[1]

The Rockies might already be undermining new manager Walt Weiss

The Colorado Rockies don't do a lot of things right.  There's no, "but they do do so-and-so right" follow up coming.  They just don't do a lot of things right and, if anything, they seem to be finding new and creative ways to not do things the right way.

Take, for example, their recent hiring of new manager Walt Weiss.  Now, nobody can complain about them replacing the wildly inept Jim Tracy, although they did fire him just eight months after giving him an indefinite "handshake" agreement contract extension which is just about the most Rockies thing ever.  What you can complain about is replacing him with a guy who has no managing experience outside of one season managing his son's high school baseball team, albeit a very good team. 

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To be fair, hiring a manager with no previous experience is definitely a gamble, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing.  It worked out decently for the White Sox and Robin Ventura this last season, so I suppose you have to give it to the Rockies for trying something new.  But as Colorado is wont to do, they've taken a seemingly good idea and quickly ruined it due to poor execution.

One of the most important things for a manager to do upon taking the job is to hire his staff.  Often the manager comes in with his group of coaches, guys he knows and trusts personally and/or professionally, which is important because these assistant coaches will be instrumental in propagating the manager's philosophies and tactics on the field and backing up the manager in his efforts to build clubhouse chemistry.  The Rockies, however, don't seem to deem it necessary to extend that luxury to Weiss, even though logic suggests that an inexperienced, first-time manager needs that kind of support system more than most.

No, instead the Rockies have opted to support Weiss by saddling him with the guys he beat out for the managerial gig.  They've already named Tom Runnells as his bench coach, a role Runnells knows well because he held the same position under Jim Tracy.  Runnells was also in the Colorado organization as a coach in the minors for years before that.  Clearly the Rockies trust and respect him, thus why he was one of four finalists for the manager position.  However, that makes him much more of a company man than it does Weiss' right-hand man, which is typically what a bench coach is supposed to be.  With his years of loyal service in multiple organizations, Runnells is a respected coach and former manager, but how much faith can Weiss put in a guy who probably thinks he is next in line to be manager if/when Weiss fails?

But if the Rockies have their way, Runnells won't be the only runner-up on Weiss' staff.  It has been widely reported that the team has offered the hitting coach position to Jason Giambi.  The same Giambi that was one of the very first guys to get an interview to be manager.  The same Giambi that earned that interview because he is such respected leader in the Rockie clubhouse.  Considering how eager the Rockies were to consider Giambi for manager, it is obvious they are high on him and hiring to be hitting coach less for his coaching skills and more to groom him for the big job someday.  That seems like a great way to create tension in the clubhouse.  Just imagine what will happen the first time Weiss makes a decision that is unpopular with the players.  Instead of voicing their concerns to Weiss, they'll simply turn to their former teammate and leader Giambi to air their grievances, putting Giambi in the awkward position of trying to support Weiss while trying to also remain loyal to players that he considers friends.

At this point Colorado should just complete the trifecta and hire the other finalist they didn't hire, Arizona coach Matt Williams, and pay him to simply walk around six inches behind Weiss and literally breath on his neck.  While Weiss could very well prove to be a terrific manager who is able to handle navigate the obstacles with aplomb, there is little doubt that Colorado has failed Walt in their one most core responsibility, which is to set him up to succeed.

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the Supreme Overlord of Monkeywithahalo.com and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.

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