While we know that Walt Weiss meets all the standards the Rockies were looking for in a managerial candidate, he now has to convince on and off the field that those standards were the correct ones for the team to be focusing on.
So what we know about new Rockies manager Walt Weiss:
- Is competitive, desires to win.
- Is at the very least competent in the baseball intellect department.
- Works well enough with the media to deflect attention from players if needed.
- Played a significant chunk of games with the Rockies, so he knows the effects of altitude.
- Worked for the organization for a long time, so he's familiar with the team's culture.
- Has been outside the org. the last couple of years, so maybe he's gained some additional perspective they lack.
Basically, there's no information that would disqualify Weiss as a candidate, and while some might see that as a "deflection" for the front office to keep the media and fans from being able to cast real judgment on their decision, I'm the type to not attribute corruption to moves where more basic survival motives make as much or more sense. In this case, I'm guessing the Rockies front office really believes that they've picked the right man for the job, the one that gives the team best chance of winning.
The only issue remains that this front office doesn't have a very good track record with these decisions. We'll see if this one works out any better than their last pick of Jim Tracy, but I do suspect that it will, and considerably.
In the middle of a post about Nate Silver and the value of "imperfect" models, Dave Cameron points out something that we have to keep in mind about projections for the Rockies and Coors Field next season:
The raw numbers from games a mile high can't be taken at face value because of the atmosphere, and changes to the environment - such as the introduction of the humidor - make applying park factors to that data a bit of a guessing game. We've seen offensive levels in Denver shift back and forth over the years, and we certainly don't have a perfect way of explaining or accounting for those shifts. If we were to project the 2013 run environment in Coors Field, we'd have to deal with a lot of moving parts, many of which require assumptions that we can't test, and there's a decent amount of uncertainty that would surround that projection. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
In case you haven't noticed, that would also point to statistical validation for what Dan O'Dowd and the front office have said about the perils of putting a team together in Denver. The altitude really does affect
debate player and team performance in crazy, unpredictable ways. This of course doesn't validate the FO's decisions on how to handle that craziness, and the team's record paints some damning evidence on that front, but I've seen Rockies fans be a bit too dismissive of the effects of altitude as just another excuse. I think the front office was 100% correct to prefer manager candidates that would be more familiar with those effects.
While the Weiss hire is easily the biggest news surrounding the team, a couple more under the radar stories are also of interest. Particularly, as a curious observer of the business side of baseball, I'm interested to find out what comes of the news that the Denver Post's parent company is selling it's 7.3% minority stake in the Rockies. Since the Monforts themselves aren't likely to sell the team anytime soon, this provides a rare opportunity to extrapolate the current real value of the franchise. Forbes estimated the team's value to be $464 million last March, but with the effects of QE3 and a new league-wide media contract adding to a revenue stream, that value should be a bit higher now, and I'm guessing the Digital First Media's share of the team to be currently around $36 million if that Forbes estimate was correct.
We know that Weiss was something Wilin Rosario will never be, a Rookie of the Year winner. It could be worse, though, Padres hotshot rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal will also never be a Rookie of the Year winner and has now been suspended for 50 games. Fourth place in the division in 2013 just got a little easier for the Rockies. Woot.
While my esteem of D-backs pitching prospects in general has been high, my thoughts on Trevor Bauer specifically have been that he's been overhyped due to people, particularly those with fantasy baseball interests, prospecting for another Tim Lincecum. This suspicion gets confirmed with news that the pitcher's on the market. Don't get me wrong, if the choice was between having Bauer in the system and not having him, I'd easily be happiest having my suspicions of his hype overshadowing his true ability on our side of the Talking Stick fence, but caveat emptor when it comes to trading for him.
And finally, Mark McGuire's heading home to Southern California (Fight On, Mark) as the Dodgers hired him away from the Cardinals. Given how well relatively unheralded Cardinals hitters have developed over the past few seasons has me a bit concerned by this development, but everything the Dodgers are doing right now concerns me a bit as a Rockies fan.