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Weiss steps down as Rockies manager

October 3, 2016

DENVER -- Walt Weiss stepped down as the Rockies' manager, and general manager Jeff Bridich concurred with the decision, both said on Monday.Weiss' contract expired at Sunday's season's end, and whether he would continue was up to a decision between him and the club, with Bridich serving as the point

DENVER -- Walt Weiss stepped down as the Rockies' manager, and general manager Jeff Bridich concurred with the decision, both said on Monday.
Weiss' contract expired at Sunday's season's end, and whether he would continue was up to a decision between him and the club, with Bridich serving as the point man. Weiss was 283-365 in four seasons as Rockies manager. Colorado finished the just-completed season 75-87.
Weiss was hired by former Rockies chief baseball officer Dan O'Dowd to replace Jim Tracy after the 2012 season, but Weiss never worked directly with O'Dowd, because the team was run by senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett. Weiss was in place when Bridich was promoted from player development director to GM after the 2014 season.
"I just felt like the working relationship between [myself] and Jeff wasn't a cohesive one or a productive one; that's the bottom line," said Weiss, who declined to discuss specifics. "It was just best for everybody."
The Rockies were strong coming out of the All-Star break this season, and they spent much of the second half within reach of a National League Wild Card spot. But the fact that the Rockies and Weiss never discussed an extension was an indication that the relationship was not cohesive. Bridich agreed that a fresh start was in order.
"I would agree with Walt that it was time to move on, and I think over the course of two years with he as manager and me as the GM, we put in a lot of work to try to make the relationship work," said Bridich, who did not put a timetable on the search for a new manager. "I'm proud of that -- that we committed to each other moving forward. It could've been different when changes were made in the front office two years ago."
Bridich said the Rockies are considering "internal and external" candidates, but even before Weiss stepped aside, Triple-A Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill was speculated about as a candidate. Hill has managed the Rockies' Triple-A clubs for the past four seasons. Hill was on the Rockies' Major League coaching staff 2007-12, and he has worked in the Rockies' system since '06. But Bridich said "there have been no formal plans put in place."
Other possible candidates from Weiss' staff are Stu Cole, who was the Rockies' third-base coach through Weiss' four years after serving as a manager and coach in the farm system for 21 seasons, and first-base coach Eric Young, who has managerial aspirations and was interviewed when Weiss was hired.
Asked if managing experience at the Major League level was important, Bridich said it's "one of a potential host of things to consider." Bridich said part of the process will be talking to members of Weiss' staff about future roles, but he didn't rule out the new manager also presenting coaching candidates. Bridich said he is looking for accord.
"One thing that is important to relationships is that both parties, or all parties involved, work hard to share a vision on how we are going to move this process along and be the best that we can be at the Major League level, and start to put ourselves into a playoff-type of a team," Bridich said. "This doesn't happen overnight. Those things happen over time spent. You have to be realistic about that."
Weiss, 52, took over after the worst season in club history, and after Tracy walked away rather than remain in place with the unusual front-office setup. Stabilizing the club, Weiss felt, was his biggest accomplishment.
"The waters were pretty rough when I arrived," Weiss said. "I felt with the help of others we calmed the waters and got the ship turned around, especially culturally. It was pretty chaotic with the general manager downstairs [Geivett had an office in the clubhouse]. It was uncharted waters in that respect, and me being a first-time manager, it was a challenge. But I loved the challenge."
Weiss spent four seasons (1994-97) of his 14-year big league playing career with the Rockies, and he worked for the club as a special assistant for seven years (2002-08), helping former manager Clint Hurdle with the big league club and assisting O'Dowd with the farm system.
"I'll remember the relationships with the players, the staff and the fans," Weiss said. "I spent 15 years with the team in some capacity, so it's like a second family to me. I'll always be grateful to Dick [Monfort, the club's owner, chairman and CEO] and Dan for hiring me and believing in me. I walk away being able to look in the mirror and be proud of the job we did."
Weiss said he is interested in continuing his managerial career and is open to coaching, but in either case "it has to be the right fit."
This past season, the Rockies displayed a talented young starting rotation, which posted a 4.79 ERA that was fourth-best in club history. The club also has a mostly homegrown and productive lineup, and 2016 saw Colorado give 12 players their Major League debuts, with some expected to be key cogs in the future.
"I do think we have a very talented team, and based on Walt's comments over the last however many weeks and months, he would agree with that, and he has agreed with that," Bridich said.
Weiss complimented the Rockies for acquiring amateur talent.
"It's safe to say there are some good times ahead," Weiss said. "Bill Schmidt [the Rockies' vice president of scouting] has played a major role in the turnaround with our personnel on the field. We are really reaping the benefits of good Drafts."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.