With his contract expiring at the end of the year, the Colorado Rockies need to decide whether manager Walt Weiss will return in 2017.
When you look at their record and the young core of sluggers already on the team, extending Weiss is the right thing to do.
Already headed for their best season in his tenure, the offense is powerful and productive. With DJ LeMahieu leading the National League in batting average, Nolan Arenado a serious MVP candidate and Trevor Story looking to repeat his rookie success next year, the Rockies can be a force in the tight NL West.
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Where they struggle, as any team would in thin air, is pitching. With a team ERA of 4.90 and no real dominant closer on the horizon, the Rockies need to score runs in bunches to have a chance. Out of the rotation, Jon Gray and Tyler Chatwood have had decent seasons.
Yet, the team has no one anybody would consider an ace. If the Rockies feel they can compete with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, they will need that front guy to set the pitching table.
As the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks flounder beneath them, you can almost pencil Colorado in as no worse than third next year. With that offense, they may give the Giants a run for second.
The question is this. Is Weiss the right man for the job going forward? As Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post writes, the answer is complicated.
If you were to look at wins and losses, Weiss record is underwhelming. The Rockies have not had a winning season in his four years. They have not sniffed the playoffs and are not going to with their pitching. The relationship between Weiss and the front office is not warm. No one would bat an eye if they made a change at season’s end. His contract is up and we wish him well.
Since falling to 66-96 in 2014, Weiss has improved on his win total the last two seasons. Last year, they won 68. This season, with two weeks left, they are at 72. With three more wins, he will beat his career-best mark with 75 wins. They are unlucky as their Pythagorean record has them at 76-73.
Without an ace in waiting next year, it is hard to see where bringing in someone new makes that much of a difference. As long as he has the support of his players, the improved competitive offense should buy him one more year.
Yet, there is no announcement of a contract extension pending. You can argue over semantics, but another sub-.500 season is in the cards.
Weiss deserves another year. Whether it comes with the Rockies is not his call. If they do not keep him, someone else will.