Walt Weiss will be introduced as the newest manager of the Colorado Rockies later today. Jason Giambi made a valiant run and was one of four finalists but ultimately was not given the position. The irrational half of me wanted the Giambino to be the next manager for the simple reason that I want him to remain part of the Rockies. I like seeing him in a Rockies cap, looming about as such a commanding presence and educating the young players on the team. I do think there are ways he could have come through as the manager, and if the Rockies were going to take a chance on him, I am confident that this would have been the time to do it. But now that Weiss has been hired, it does not take long for the rational half of me to jar my thinking back to reality and ask: “What the heck were you thinking?”
Clearly Weiss is a better choice. While I would have been ecstatic to see Giambi as manager in the same way it has excited me to hear his walk-up music the last few years, that would have worn off quickly if his reign as manager had accelerated the Rockies’ move towards the designation of “biggest laughing stock in baseball.” Weiss might be unproven and an unspectacular hiring to those outside of Colorado, but he certainly will not draw the type of ire Giambi would have from national coverage. That quality should not be overlooked as we look ahead to a season in which the possibility of another last place finish looms.
So now we are left with this question: will Jason Giambi consider retiring to become the Rockies hitting coach? He insists that his willingness to retire was exclusive to the manager’s spot, but it is hard to imagine that he will draw a lot of interest as a free agent after his participation in the process. While it might have been difficult to take him seriously as a manager, his pursuit of that position might make it difficult to take him seriously a player. That leaves him as a natural fit to become a hitting coach.
We need to at least ask the question: should we want Jason Giambi as Rockies hitting coach? Perhaps the best argument in his favor is that he has already been serving as hitting coach for some young players, many of whom broke out in the second half of the 2012 season. To hire Giambi as hitting coach would be a continuation of the program those players are already following. On the minus side, we cannot help but wonder if Weiss is interested in having Giambi as hitting coach. It would be perfectly understandable for Weiss to not want such a large presence in the locker room, especially one who was a finalist for his job. I am not suggesting that Weiss is insecure or that Giambi would undermine him, but there is no denying that it would have potential to be an awkward fit.
Ultimately this decision comes down to Giambi and his willingness to be a hitting coach. That’s fine, and in the end I think the Rockies should be comfortable with that fact. They should want him as hitting coach, but if he does take the job, we need to see them temper the Giambino excitement and make sure everybody understands the nuances of what it means to hire him after the way the managerial search process played out.
It excites me to think of Giambi and Weiss on the Rockies coaching staff because of my affection for both of them as (former) players. But it would take some work on both sides for them to be able to work together effectively. Hopefully everybody acknowledges that if/before Giambi is hired as the hitting coach.