41-year-old first baseman Jason Giambi has yet to rule out playing another season but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing the vacant manager position with the Colorado Rockies.
Giambi, who played in 60 games as a pinch hitter and first baseman with Colorado in 2012, would reportedly retire if given the opportunity to manage, which would rob baseball fans of seeing the first player-manager since Pete Rose in the mid-1980s. According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, no timetable has been set for the Rockies to fill to vacancy and no date has been set for the Giambi interview.
Bench coach Tom Runnells has already interviewed for the position that Jim Tracy resigned from last month. Giambi would be the final “in-house” candidate before the organization begins a search of outside candidates. Assistant GM Bill Geivett says the club has not yet begun narrowing their list of possibilities.
Obviously, since he’s still an active player, Giambi has no coaching experience at any level. Considering the state of the Rockies, that might not be a bad thing. This past year, the organization saw the resignation of their pitching coach, Bob Apodaca, and their manager. The Rockies had no problem scoring runs, but allowed an alarming 890 runs to score against them. In the middle of the year, they scrapped the traditional five-man rotation in favor of one that would limit its members to 75 pitches (this prompted Apodaca’s resignation). The front office seems to be in just as much turmoil with Geivett taking over most of the day-to-day responsibilities from GM Dan O’Dowd.
The humidor still works and is still being used, but Colorado’s 5.97 home ERA was the worst in the past eight seasons for the Rockies and nearly a run-and-a-half higher than their road ERA. This is a team with an extreme lack of experienced talent in the starting rotation (all the evidence of this you really need of this is that they desperately want to re-sign Jeff Francis) and an inconsistent bullpen.
The Rockies can be much better next season just by getting Troy Tulowitzki healthy again, but last I checked, he couldn’t pitch either. Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio should come back healthy next season and Jorge De La Rosa will be back as well, so there are some arms who have had success pitching at Coors. If they can get Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, part of the haul from the Ubaldo Jimenez deal, looking like legitimate major league pitchers, the Rockies could see a seismic shift from their starters next season. All of this assumes the organization will ditch the silly 75-pitch limits for next year and beyond.
Now, the odds that things could go so right one year after they went so wrong seem unlikely and in a division with the powerhouse Giants, should-be powerhouse Dodgers, and two teams on the rise in Arizona and San Diego, the Rockies are probably a fourth-place team at best in 2013. In that regard, a manager probably won’t make much difference, but they should probably hire one anyway.
And since they’re going to hire one, I’d like to see Giambi get a shot at it.