The Rockies' marriage of convenience to Walt Weiss should head for divorce court.
This week marked the 15th anniversary of my marriage to my lovely wife. 15 years seems like a long time for anything and like most relationships, they take a lot of work. But marriage is something you commit to and if it doesn’t go smoothly, you have to work at it to keep the relationship alive. In baseball, if it’s not working, you move on and try something new.
And that’s what the Rockies need to do this week: realize when something isn’t working and move on. Hopefully, your relationships are doing well, but there’s a marriage in Denver that isn’t doing so hot. Divorce is never a good solution, but the unholy union between the Colorado Rockies and Walt Weiss needs to end soon.
Walt has worn out his welcome with the Rockies. He’s Kirk Van Houten to Milhouse’s mom and needs to move out to the bachelor apartments down the street as soon as the Rockies season is mercifully over in a couple of days.
Walt did his best, but he was the deadly combination of being a mediocre manager and too inexpensive to let go. It’s like that old girlfriend or boyfriend that had a car when you were young and broke. It wasn’t ideal and certainly wasn’t going to work out, but you went with it because it was convenient.
And Weiss was convenient when the Rockies hired him back in 2012. Four years is not long in marital terms, but it is an eternity in the sports world and that is exactly how long Walt Weiss has been managing in Denver. Which is mind-boggling considering the uninspiring job he’s done.
Granted, Weiss has worked with a fairly limited cast of characters during most of that time, but this season he had a few good pieces to manipulate and still mailed in a mostly flavorless year. The Rockies highest mark under Weiss so far was 74-88 in 2013. The team might reach just beyond that this season, but after four years, is this really the direction the Rockies should be going? Teams have fired managers for far less and in a much shorter time than the tenure of Weiss’s career, yet there he is. Like a husband someone is too lazy to divorce.
The Rockies need to ask Walt to pack his things because they just can’t afford to squander this great group of players they have with inferior management. Most people don’t think the manager impacts much on the field but I’ve seen some Rockies games catch fire and plunge into the ditch pretty quickly as soon as Walt started tinkering. A new, competent manager with a fresh point of view may be the difference between the usual third to last finish in the NL West and pushing for an NL Wild Card spot.
Weiss’s extension, given in 2013 for about 2 million dollars, is about to run out. There’s been no official word yet on whether he’ll be retained, but if he is it would just be one more nail in the Rockies coffin for next season. Not solely because he’s an ineffective manager, but it would show the Rockies are still making terrible decisions. Loyalty is great, but if that loyalty is preventing you from making strides in becoming a good ball club, something needs to change.
Paying Weiss close to $700K a year is peanuts. It’s literally the cost of what Coors Field takes in on peanut sales in July so it would be hard for management to replace him with an expensive, high profile manager. They want to stay cheap because that’s what they are: cheap. But they could bring in a dozen candidates at around this price range who would do a better job than Walt. The organization’s odd willingness to stick with people who are woefully ineffective will come back to haunt them yet again if they give Walt the keys for another couple of years.
This all comes down to Dick Monfort’s willingness to let someone else do the tough job and fire a guy who has loyally, although ineffectively, served the team for many years. Denver is salivating for playoff baseball and if Monfort knew how much more money and cache that would earn him, he’d not only fire Weiss, he’d fire him out of a cannon as soon as this season was done.
15 years isn’t that long to be married, but four years as the manager of a bad baseball team is mind blowing. While I wish only the best for Walt Weiss, I hope next week the Rockies have packed his bags for him and placed them on the curb. For the kid’s sake (us), this divorce needs to happen. And it needs to happen for the Rockies sake so it can get on with its life (winning).