Walt Weiss has been named the 6th manager in #Rockies history.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) November 8, 2012
After an exhaustive search that stretched as far as “the old guy still on their active roster” and “that lunatic who dressed in fatigues at Expos Spring Training that one year”, the Colorado Rockies announced their new manager will be long-time Rockies player and former part-time Rockies instructor, Walt Weiss.
Walt Weiss, who played fourteen seasons in the big leagues and, until very recently, coached baseball at a local high school, becomes the sixth manager in Rockies history. Weiss surely impressed the Colorado brass with his ability to not be Jim Tracy in any way, shape, or form.
The Rockies are something of a mess. They have one borderline generational talent, one altitude-enhanced perennial All Star and a whole lot of pitching woe. Can Weiss bring a new outlook and fix whatever ails the current edition of the Rockies?
As Jay Jaffe suggests at his (must read) SI home Hit and Run, the relative level of inexperience among candidates (and the man who eventually won the job) points to a front office hoping their manager will grow and learn in parallel to the club’s ongoing rebuilding efforts. Jaffe also smartly implies a younger manager is more likely to accept direction from a very hands-on front office. How hands on? Associate general manager Bill Geivett’s desk is in the clubhouse “hands on.”
With no professional track record of which to speak, it is impossible to gauge what kind of manager the Rockies just hired in Walt Weiss. To them he is a known quantity who understands the “Rockies Way” in addition to recognizing the perils of playing in the mountains. His predilections towards bunting and bullpen management may well take the shape of a (sort of) new GM looking to remodel the team in his own image.
His task is not an enviable one, as the two-time World Series champs and the deep-pocketed Dodgers plan on making things very, very difficult on National League West clubs for the foreseeable future.
As a former shortstop, Weiss at least realizes how lucky he is to have a player like Troy Tulowitzki in the mix to begin his managerial career. There are worse players to plug in at short and the cleanup spot every day (except the 20 or so games he misses per year. At minimum.)