Strong finish could go long way for Rockies manager, whose contract expires after season
By Ben Weinrib
DENVER -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss' future is up in the air with his contract ending after this season, but his players remain firmly by his side.
Weiss' .439 winning percentage over four seasons as a manager is the lowest in Rockies history. However, he is in the midst of the franchise's best campaign since 2010 at 64-69 with the 10th-best run differential in baseball.
Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich did not hire Weiss, and he may favor a handpicked manager of his own. But no matter Weiss' future, the players hold him in high regard.
"I've been around three managers, and they've all been very good," catcher Nick Hundley said. "Bud Black was an amazing player manager. I was [in San Diego] for 7 seasons with him, and he had a great command of the clubhouse. Buck Showalter was respected as anyone in the game. He was as smart as anyone who's been around.
"Walt Weiss is the same. Unbelievable grasp of players. To a man, everybody respects him. When he talks, everybody listens, and those are great qualities to have."
While Colorado is 6 1/2 games out of the second National League Wild Card spot, Weiss' success can also be measured by the development of his young players.
Shortstop Trevor Story led the NL in home runs before his season-ending injury, outfielder David Dahl has instantly become one of the team's best hitters, right-hander Jon Gray is emerging as a potential ace, and left-hander Tyler Anderson owns the lowest ERA (3.43) for a starter through his first 15 starts in Rockies history.
Players have also found Weiss easy to work with no matter the circumstance. Closer Adam Ottavino felt wanted even when he missed over 14 months while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
"[Weiss] still let me feel like part of the team," Ottavino said. "If I saw something, I could have no problem talking to him. He's very easy to talk to. Here they definitely treat me like a greater family, and that's all I could really ask for during that time."
Closing out the season strong could go a long way for Weiss, and Colorado has won four of its past five, all against NL division leaders. Weiss, however, does not appear to be concerned about his future and said no conversations would be had until the offseason.
"I know that he's not worried about his contract," All-Star right fielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "All he's trying to do is win. As a baseball player -- he played a long time in the big leagues -- he knows that in order to keep his job, you've got to win. That's what we're doing right now. We're trying to win, and he knows that if we play hard, we'll win games, and everything else will take care of itself."
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.