According to the Denver Post, Colorado Rockies management plans to offer manager Walt Weiss a multi-year contract extension sometime next week. In the piece, Dick Monfort makes it clear that he wants to go beyond a one year "handshake" agreement and make it clear that Weiss will be the Rockies manager for a few years to come.
Also of note was this interesting snippet regarding the contract status of other members of the organization including GM and other GM Bill Geivett and Dan O'Dowd:
"Other than our players, we have one guy under contract, and that's Walt. The other 210 people that work for the Rockies don't."
The mantra in favor of keeping Weiss revolves around the idea of fairness, according to Monfort. It was only his first season and management appears to believe that he deserves both another shot to prove he can grow as a manager and also a shot at managing a (hopefully) healthier and more solid team next season.
When it was first announced that the Rockies expected to keep their manager through next season I was lukewarm on the move. I have my issues with some of his philosophies (over bunting, aggressive base running, bullpen management) but figured extending him for one more season was reasonable considering his rookie status and the ambiguous contending abilities of this team.
However, locking the team into Walt Weiss after one thoroughly unspectacular season for the next three or so years could be very high risk. The Rockies better be sure that this is there guy, because now he will be handed the reigns to the prime years of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, as well as the most formative years for Nolan Arenado, Josh Rutledge, Wilin Rosario, Eddie Butler, and Jon Gray.
In other words, the next three years will be a pivotal time for the Rockies where they have as much talent flowing through the organization as maybe any time in their history and management has decided to let a relatively unknown quantity lead them through this time.
Let me be clear, I am not unequivocally against this move. It is simply a risky move that either ties the Rockies to a manager who might not have what it takes to manage the team through this very important time or puts them into a position where, if the team doesn't win, they may have to fire one of the all time great guys rather than just letting him walk after the season.
There is also, of course, the chance this all works out perfectly and Walt Weiss is the guy who will blend all the parts and bring contending baseball back to Colorado. Maybe he is the straw that will stir Eddie Butler and Jon Gray into the drink in the coming years. But if he isn't, the Rockies may just end up wasting one of their best windows to win in a very long time.
Monfort was busy this week in the quote giving department, telling THE DENVER POST that the team intends to keep both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki despite some rumors to the contrary.
(Edit: In the original posting of this article I mistakenly credited ESPN with having reported this story when in reality it was their report of a Denver Post article that contained the relevant information. My apologies to the Denver Post, Troy Renck and Patrick Saunders who did the real reporting in this case.)
"And my plan is to always keep them, is that the smartest thing in the world to do? I don't know. But for our fans I think it's the best thing to do." -Dick Monfort
I'm with Dick on this one.
There are better reasons out there than "because they are fan favorites" and the injury problems have gone beyond infuriating, but as I've been intimating in this whole article, now is not the time to mess with the talent on this team, now is the time to add to it.
The Rockies have one of the best crops of young talent coming into the organization right now that they have ever had. You don't move pieces like Cargo and Tulo right before reinforcements arrive. If Butler, Gray, Arenado, Dickerson, Parker, and Dahl don't end up being a positive impact on this team in the next three or four years, then I say tear the whole thing down.
There will still be buyers in a few years for Cargo or Tulo at ages 30, 31, and 32 but lets give the Rockies this one last hurrah. I know fans are frustrated, and I'm right there with them, it's been a frustrating 20 years or so but lets not pull the plug before the brightest lights get a chance to shine.
If after three years the Rockies still are what they are today-- fire everybody, trade everybody, and let's try to start all over with this whole professional baseball in Colorado thing.