DENVER (AP) — The relationship between Walt Weiss and his general manager deteriorated over the last several months. He and Jeff Bridich certainly see eye-to-eye on this: The Colorado Rockies have quite a few of the pieces in place to be a contender.
Next step, finding a new manager.
Weiss is out as manager of the Rockies after four seasons. In a statement Monday, the Rockies said Weiss decided to step down.
However, he really didn’t have a job to come back to because his contract expired after the season finale. Bridich, who took over as GM two years ago, will now get to select his own manager.
The Rockies finished 75-87 this season, their best record since 2010.
“It was time to move on,” Bridich said in a conference call. “We both put in a lot of work to try to make the relationship work. I’m proud of that. It could’ve been different when changes were made in the front office two years ago. In our working together and conversations over those 24 months, we decided together that we were going to move forward and make a true effort at continuity, and making this thing work and creating a shared vision. In the end, it did not take place.”
Bridich said there is no timeline for a replacement. The team plans to interview external candidates as well as internal ones such as Glenallen Hill, who finished up his fourth season as manager of the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate.
“One of the things important to relationships is all parties involved work hard to share a vision in how we’re going to move this process along,” Bridich said. “Be the best we can be at the major league level and start to turn ourselves into a playoff-type team. That doesn’t happen overnight. Those things happen over time. I think you have to be real realistic about that.”
Weiss took over a team on Nov. 7, 2012, that was coming off the worst season in franchise history. He was a high school coach at the time with no major league coaching experience. The former big league shortstop learned on the fly and concluded his managerial stint in Colorado with a 283-365 record.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Weiss said he was pleased with the direction the team was heading.
“There’s a lot to look forward to here, especially from where we came from,” Weiss said. “Coming in right after the worst season in the history of the franchise, I feel like that if it wasn’t rock bottom, it was pretty darn close. But there’s a lot to feel good about.”
The players appreciated Weiss’ laid-back style, with All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado giving Weiss credit for having the Rockies on the right track. Arenado said Sunday that Weiss is a manager that “every player respects, everyone around the game respects. You don’t find those people too often.”
The next skipper will be inheriting this: A batting champion in DJ LeMahieu, one of the game’s top leadoff hitters in Charlie Blackmon, an RBI monster in Arenado, another deep threat in Carlos Gonzalez, a star in the making in shortstop Trevor Story and a young but talented rotation led by Jon Gray.
“I do think we have a very talented team,” Bridich said. “Based on Walt’s comments over the last few weeks or months, he would agree with that and has agreed with that. There’s a really talented core at the major league level. We were able to graduate a number of young, very talented players and start their major league careers. There are certainly ways this team needs to improve.”
Chief among them will be shoring up a shaky bullpen that blew 28 saves chances. Colorado finished 24-36 in games decided by two runs or less this season.
“I like the group that we have. I think we are close,” said Arenado, who led the league in RBIs (133) and tied for the NL home run title (41). “I want fans to know that so they don’t lose hope. I feel bad. They come out every day, to see us lose the way we do sometimes. It upsets me. I want them to know that I truly believe we’re close.”
Weiss has long had strong ties with the organization, playing four seasons for the Rockies from 1994-97. He also served as a special assistant to the general manager for seven years from 2002-08.
On Sunday, Weiss made his way around Coors Field to say so long to Rockies fans for the season.
Turns out, his farewell was for good, too.