Monfort may propose another one-year deal, manager hopes to stay
DENVER -- Rockies owner and CEO Dick Monfort said Friday that he wants manager Walt Weiss back next season. Weiss said he wants to return and doesn't see the potential structure of the contract as an obstacle.
Negotiations won't take place until after the season, but a surprise is unlikely.
Weiss managed this season under a one-year contract after Jim Tracy resigned last October. Monfort said he prefers arrangements similar to Hall of Famer Walter Alston, who managed the Dodgers for 23 years, all on one-year contracts. Original Rockies manager Don Baylor and Tracy had deals under which if the manager reported to Spring Training, the contract was guaranteed for the upcoming season. The deals were designed to avoid the potential distraction of a manager in his final contract year.
"We haven't even talked, but at the end of the year, we'll talk," Monfort said. "We hope he likes the job and is happy with what he's seeing. When we get through the season, I'm sure we'll sit down.
"All indications are he'll be back, but we really haven't even talked."
Weiss said Friday that he enjoys the challenge of turning around the Rockies, who are trying to avoid finishing consecutive seasons in last place -- something that hasn't happened in club history.
The Rockies battled injuries, which exposed a lack of depth, but Weiss has said all along that the team could get better quickly if star players remain healthy, and the starting pitching has been a pleasant surprise.
"I've made clear whenever anybody's asked that I'd like to be back, but I figure there will be a time to talk about those types of things," Weiss said. "I've enjoyed it. It's been a nice year. It hasn't all been roses, but it never will be for any manager. There are always tough spots."
Weiss played for the Rockies 1994-97, and he is the first former player to manage the team. He worked for the club in a special front-office capacity for several years before leaving pro ball to coach his sons' youth and school teams. He was head baseball coach at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo., last season. The Rockies called him to discuss what they wanted in a manager and realized that who they wanted was him. Weiss' comfort level remains high.
"That's a big reason why I took the job in the first place," Weiss said. "It's been a part of who I am for a long time. I worked here for 11 years, four as a player and seven as a special assistant. I think I said the day I took the job that I wouldn't have taken the job anywhere else to manage.
"It's important that everybody in the organization is on the same page. That's the only way we're going to bring a winner here. Everybody has to be on the same page -- players, front office, coaching staff, we've all got to be on board together."
The length of Weiss' contract -- one year -- raised some eyebrows among some people in baseball and analysts, and Monfort said he is cognizant of that criticism.
"I look back on the Walter Alston deal," Monfort said. "What is wrong with that kind of a deal? It's not that we don't have faith in [Weiss]. It's just that nobody else around here has contracts, really, other than players. I've grown up in a world where you go year to year. But we'll explore everything, because I know it was a big deal last year."
There is no pressure to negotiate immediately.
Monfort said Weiss, chief baseball officer and general manager Dan O'Dowd and senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett will attend the team's instructional program together in Scottsdale, Ariz., after the season. An actual discussion between Monfort and Weiss would likely occur after that, and terms would be discussed then.
"I don't really have any preconceived notions," Weiss said. "My focus is on getting through the 2013 season. There'll be a time and a place for that. I'm not really worried about terms of the next contract."
Monfort doesn't expect the negotiations to become dramatic in any way.
"It's not a real sitdown," Monfort said. "It's more, 'What do you think? Let's go get 'em.'"