Now that Walt Weiss is officially the manager of the Colorado Rockies, it is time for he and the front office to fill the rest of the coaching staff that is mostly vacant thanks to the “housecleaning” earlier this season. That includes hitting coach, pitching coach (which Bob Apodaca left during the season), third base coach, and bench coach.
Weiss at his press conference. Image: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
The Rockies have set up an interesting situation for themselves. On the one hand, they instantly fired Carney Lansford and Rich Dauer when Jim Tracy resigned, which would seemingly be a sign that they indeed wanted to clean house and acquire a fresh start after the worst season in their short history. Yet they resorted to familiarity in their managerial search, interviewing two men who were active members of the organization in Tom Runnells and Jason Giambi and reaching out to Weiss on their own due to previous connections with the organization.
Now comes the news that Runnells will return to the team in his same role as bench coach. So as we look to the other roles in the organization, we have to ask the question: which will it be, fresh faces or different familiar faces? It is looking more and more like it will be different familiar faces. Runnells is back and my man Glenallen Hill remains. Bob McClure, one of the leading candidates for the pitching coach job, served in that role in the organization in the early 2000’s. As for the hitting coach position, the Denver Post reports that the team is focused on Giambi, former slugger Dante Bichette, and a long-time minor league coach in their system, Rene Lachemann. Colorado Springs Sky Sox coach Stu Cole is considered the front-runner for the third base coach position.
To recap: every name in the above paragraph has a strong connection to the Rockies.
I do not necessarily think anybody can say this is a bad thing, but if the front office is going to skirt outside candidates after they “cleaned house,” they should at least be aware of the stigma that will follow these decisions if they don’t work out.
For my part, I like the names mentioned for the various holes on the coaching staff. I also understand the risk the Rockies run if they fill their staff with a bunch of familiar names after such an awful season. I hope they do too.