Rox will interview Giambi in manager search
Giambi hasn't officially retired as a player yet.
Giambi hasn't officially retired as a player yet.
Publisher
Posted Oct 18, 2012


The Colorado Rockies are one of only two teams currently searching for their next manager, the Boston Red Sox are the other. The Rockies are in no hurry to hire a manager as they interviewed bench coach Tom Runnells for two full days this week. The club will conclude its in-house interviews with Jason Giambi (yes, that Jason Giambi) before going outside the organization for possible candidates.

However curious it may seem that the Rockies are even considering hiring Giambi, an aging player with no managerial experience, I don't think it would even be that much of a surprise if he was hired. In fact, I might be more surprised if someone outside the organization were to accept the Colorado Rockies managerial position because the Rockies job isn't one that someone with other options would want. 

The Rockies manager job wasn't even a job that Jim Tracy wanted anymore and his alternative was sitting at home and passing up roughly $1.4 million. At this point the Rockies will take anyone who actually wants to do this job because the results aren't going to be pretty. Even assuming good health for Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton coupled with a bounce back season from Carlos Gonzalez and pitchers taking steps forward and also staying healthy, the team will probably lose at least 90 games anyway. 

This is why I didn't throw a party when Tracy resigned. Tracy wasn't the problem. He was a problem. He was one of the worst tactical managers in baseball and arguably the absolute worst. He loved bunting and intentional walks and many other things that managers do today that get on the nerves of people who follow the team. But, when he turned down another season to be the skipper in Colorado, it spoke volumes. 

This was a man who had a handshake agreement to manage the Rockies for until he didn't want to anymore just months ago. When I covered the Rockies in Arizona during spring training, general manager Dan O'Dowd joked that he'd like Tracy to be the manager even when or if Tracy would need a cane to walk. After this season the man decided that he'd had enough. 

Throughout all of this it hasn't exactly been clear what the Rockies need. They don't need Jim Tracy, clearly. Still, I think they need people like Tracy to actually want to be here. He didn't and now he's gone, but look at who's left. We have Dan O'Dowd down on the farm scouting amateurs and Bill Geivett setting up shop with his own office in the clubhouse, which makes him the only front office personnel in baseball with a clubhouse presence. What manager or coach with any self respect or shot at another gig in the Majors is going to want these two as their bosses?

Tracy didn't. Bob Apodaca, the Rockies pitching coach since 2002 and longest tenured coach in franchise history, asked to be reassigned in late June after the front office forced a 4-man rotation on him. 

The blame for what has happened to this organization lies squarely on the front office and its inability to evaluate and acquire talent. Coors Field is a tough place to pitch and nobody is going to debate that, but it alone does not explain the Rockies pitching staff this year.

Jeremy Guthrie for Jason Hammel was the worst trade anybody made last off-season. Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso for Seth Smith might be a close second in the worst trade department. Bringing in Jamie Moyer was a cheap stunt. Jeff Francis leading the team in innings and starts after being picked up off the trash heap is an embarrassment and so is having more wins than only the Astros and Cubs. 

Now, after all of that, this organization is going to turn around and hire either Runnells, who has been a bench coach since 2009 so it's safe to assume he's a company man, or Giambi, which would be doing the unthinkable. Giambi is obviously one of the Rockies veteran leaders (he's 40), but he'd absolutely be in over his head as a manager. Giambi hasn't officially retired as a player yet and, really, who wouldn't want to see a manager that can also pinch hit? We've seen worse stunts on the field this year when the games don't matter so much anymore (Yes, I'm talking about you, Adam Greenberg).

Seriously, though, it's unlikely that even this front office is going to turn the keys over to Jason Giambi, who if he was really serious about becoming a manager would be out at the Arizona Fall League coaching or something. I'm fine with considering Giambi as a guy who could one day maybe be a manager, but that has to start with getting him some actual experience managing at some level. I don't care where he goes, just go there and manage something so then you can say that you've actually done it. 

I guess I'll wait until we see who the Rockies will bring in to interview from outside the organization before I go off on what hiring Tom Runnells means, but I will say that hiring Runnells is just about the most boring thing the club can do at this point. If you can't tell already, I wouldn't mind someone coming in from outside the organization because that person would have had nothing to do with what has gone on here in recent years and that is exactly what this organization needs to get away from. 



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