Walt Weiss Steps Down as Rockies Manager
Despite having his best season yet, Walt Weiss has decided to resign as manager of the Colorado Rockies. Although his three-year contract expired after the 2016 season, the club announced that Weiss chose to leave on his own terms, citing strained relationships with general manager Jeff Bridich and owner Dick Monfort and feeling out of the loop when it came to major decisions, that caused him to part ways with the team. There were never any negotiations during the season about giving him a new contract, and while it's rumored that Bridich has an in-house candidate in mind to fill the position, no formal plans have been put into place as of yet.
Weiss, 52, has a long history with the Rockies organization – serving as both a player and manager during his career in baseball. He played shortstop for the Rockies from 1994-97, and was a key member of the 1995 Wild Card team, which was also the first time the Rockies ever made it to the playoffs. Weiss became special assistant to former GM Dan O' Dowd from 2002-08, prior to becoming manager in 2013. During his three years as Rockies manager, the team went 283-365 (.437). 2016 was the team's best season under Weiss, finishing third in the National League West with a record of 75-87, and also leading the NL with 845 runs scored.
As a die hard Rockies fan, it makes me sad to see Walt go. Not only is he a class act, but being a former player for the team himself, I think he understood the challenges of playing baseball in Denver differently than another manager could. Weiss also really helped to turn around the clubhouse culture and improve the team's overall morale, which is something that was much needed. Even though the Rockies didn't have an amazing season and fans joke about it being a "rebuilding year," the team could very likely be playoff bound come 2017. Their offense is extremely strong, and although pitching has been their downfall as of recently, they have several young and very promising players in the bullpen to watch out for next season, including Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson. In my opinion, Weiss can't really be blamed for the poor pitching that resulted in so many blown games, as he wasn't responsible for constructing the bullpen – he only had what Bridich gave him to work with.