The Colorado Rockies front office is putting the finishing touches on a new contract for manager Walt Weiss for the 2014 season. At the time of Weiss’s hiring last year, some noted his one year contract with skepticism.
What kind of deal is that? Do they not have faith in their own new hire? How should Weiss feel that they only have him a one year contract?
It’s an admittedly flimsy concern to have, especially given the ridiculously loyal nature of the Colorado front office. Still, with word that Weiss might sign another one year deal (with an option to extend it early on), we face a situation in which the managerial situation remains subject to consideration and change each year.
With that said, we should ask the question: should Walt Weiss return as Rockies manager?
The team improved by 10 games, though it is hard to get too excited about that. Better health and a pitching staff that actually couldn’t have been worse was probably going to correct things in the win column a little bit. Had the Rockies gone .500, there might be more buzz about them improving because of Weiss. Instead it feels more like their slight improvement was inevitable and probably would have happened with any manager at the helm (even my man Jim Tracy).
They did still finish in last place, after all. So “improvement” is one way to put it, and “not as terrible” is another.
The other feel-good vibes Weiss carried with him into the season had to do with the return of the good ol’ days. He convinced his old buddy Dante Bichette to be hitting coach. He had a cast of former Rockies helping out at Spring Training. Who better to return the Rockies to glory than the Rockies from the original glory days, right?
Unfortunately that plan fizzled and Bichette especially struggled. He likely spared the Rockies an awkward situation by stepping down after the offense failed the team far too many times in 2013. Combine that with Todd Helton‘s retirement, and 2014 will have far less Rockies’ nostalgia. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but that’s what it will be.
What else? The starting pitching improved, but it’s hard to know how much Weiss had to do with that. He damaged the perception of himself among fans by holding to a strict pitch count for starters (a legite concern) and by going through the entire season without being ejected from a game (a completely stupid concern). He held one team meeting which, if the results are to be believed, was effective. If you follow those who cover the Rockies beat day to day, it seems fair to say that the players respect Weiss and like playing for him.
The Rockies’ inclination to look inward for solutions means that a splashy hire, like a recently fired big name or a rising star outside candidate, is highly unlikely. Given that fact, I say it makes sense to give Weiss another year.