And then there were six... The Rockies managerial search looks at the moment like it will extend to about a dozen serious candidates, of which roughly half have been interviewed so far, including three new names added since yesterday's news of Walt Weiss's candidacy. Those three:
- Jerry Manuel saw a bit of success managing the White Sox in the late 1990's and early 2000's, before Ozzie Guillen took over and led them to a World Series, and Manuel also faltered in a stint with the Mets in 2009 and 2010 after winning as a mid-season replacement for Willie Randoph in 2008.
- Pete Mackanin seems to be a bit of a perpetual bridesmaid in managerial searches, often getting interviewed but thus far unable to close on a job.
- Matt Williams, who's currently managing several Rockies prospects in the Arizona Fall League and works as a third base coach for the Diamondbacks was also interviewed.
The one candidate here with an MLB managerial record to look at would be Manuel, and it's not all that impressive, leaving me still leaning to others in the search thus far. Manuel would admittedly have the most experience of the managerial candidates to date and that should count for something in his favor. Mackanin and Williams are blank slates, but the fact that Mackanin's been passed over before leaves me a bit more biased against him as I wonder why, as at least Manuel has been impressive enough in interviews to land managerial jobs, and decent enough at those jobs to have an eight and a half season career. That said, there seem to be an awful lot of iterations of "fire jerry manuel" tags in our SB Nation database, I'm guessing if we dig through enough of them, reasons will come up not to hire "the sage".
Despite the fact that rationally I should probably be more in favor of Manuel, Williams is a bit more intriguing to me as he's a similar candidate to Jason Giambi or Walt Weiss, well known from his playing days and personable with the media, and like Giambi or Weiss, I wouldn't have a strong reason to oppose that hire should the Rockies go that direction. His advantage over both Giambi and Weiss would be MLB coaching experience, but I think the value of that gets overstated. With all three candidates, Giambi, Weiss and Williams, I recognize I'm engaging in a good amount of Shiny New Toy Syndrome, as I would be with Ron Wotus or a few of the other candidates on the Rockies list (and a couple that aren't on their list, such as Dave Martinez,) who don't have MLB managing experience. The decision really should come down to what's learned in the discovery/interview process by the front office, information that I'm certainly not privy to.
Troy Renck seems to have a similar positive impression of Weiss. I tend to lean to candidates familiar with the organization and its unique challenges, which would give both he and Giambi a bit of an advantage over Williams for me. There still are a few other prime candidates the team has yet to get to for interviews, however, including Tim Wallach, Ron Wotus, and Sandy Alomar Jr.
The San Francisco Giants, now on the verge of a second World Series title in the last three years, are not worried about the remaking of the Dodgers into a Yankees-esque powerhouse in the division according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
"I don't see it as an arms race," Giants President Larry Baer said. "It's a judgment race. It's a brainiac race. What team can come up with the right judgments to put the right combination of players on the field?"
That sentiment probably matches that of the other three front offices within the division, it's just that the Giants have proven themselves a lot better in the brainiac/judgment races than their peers, including the Rockies. For the Rockies to win their first NL West title, they will need to recognize how far they've fallen short in the competition and make the necessary changes within their system to catch up. They've taken a step by opening their managerial search to the outside (I know this might seem paradoxical since ultimately I prefer someone that knows the organization) but more is needed.
I think the Rockies need to get an ideal blend of the best outside knowledge and the best of their own turf, a tricky balance that the Giants seem to have figured out.