The beat writers for the Colorado Rockies provided a couple different bits of news regarding the team’s search for a manager to replace Jim Tracy. Thomas Harding of MLB.com reported that general manager Dan O’Dowd’s travel schedule might prevent the team from making anything like a “prompt” decision, possibly putting the decision off until after the general managers’ meetings. That news coincided with an update to the list of candidates still in the running from Harding and Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Having already completed a second interview with Tom Runnells, Rockies’ brass announced it will meet with Walt Weiss, Matt Williams, and the one and only Jason Giambi for second interviews.
This eliminates Jerry Manuel and Pete Mackanin from the previous list of 6. While it is probably not useful to speculate much about the reason those two were not given second interviews, one cannot help but wonder if it is an acknowledgment on the front office’s part of the fact that traditional candidates simply will not fit their bizarre situation.
The four candidates who are left have approximately 2 years of managerial experience combined. Runnells is the only one with Major League experience, even if it was for less than a year with the Montreal Expos (and the fact that he managed in Montreal gives you a sense of how long it has been). The only candidate besides Runnells who has managed is Weiss, and his experience is with Regis High School in Denver, CO.
Williams has been working his way through the ranks with the Arizona Diamondbacks, serving as their third base coach. Presumably this has always been with aspirations to eventually manage or he would not have interviewed for the job in the first place. In that sense he is still a more traditional candidate than Giambi because he has at least served on a professional coaching staff.
Even with the Rockies making a clear decision here to go with a less experienced manager because he will have far less authority, I do not think it is fair to assume any of these four men are simply willing to accept being a “puppet.” Runnells has enough experience to resist it, Weiss has enough smarts, Williams has enough grit, and Giambi has enough flash and self-confidence. Each would be making a concession in order to get a shot to manage, but that does not mean any of them would be willing to give up all of their authority to get there.