Rockies closing in on managerial choice

Rockies closing in on managerial choice

DENVER -- Walt Weiss and Matt Williams have emerged as favorites for the Rockies' vacant managerial position, although Tom Runnells and Jason Giambi remained under consideration as of Wednesday morning.

Rockies owner and CEO Dick Monfort, general manager Dan O'Dowd and senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett are conducting final discussions. The three are at the General Managers Meetings in Indian Wells, Calif.

The Denver Post reported Wednesday that Weiss was the favorite before Williams impressed the team in his interview on Monday. A Major League source confirmed that the club likes Williams and Weiss, but all four finalists remain under consideration.

Weiss is the head baseball coach at Regis Jesuit High School in the Denver area. He had worked for the Rockies as a special instructor and front-office advisor in recent years before stepping out of pro ball to spend time with his family. He was involved in coaching youth sports while he worked for the Rockies and intensified his involvement while away from the club, but he has said his family supports his pursuit of the Rockies job.

Part of Weiss' long Major League career as a strong defensive shortstop was spent with the Rockies

Williams, the D-backs' third-base coach and currently the manager of the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, is the only candidate with no background as an employee of the Rockies to become a finalist in the interview process.

Runnells, who had a brief tenure as the Montreal Expos' manager in the 1990s, managed in the Rockies' system from 2001 until being promoted to Major League bench coach in 2009. After interviewing with the Rockies last month, Runnells indicated he was interested in staying with the club if not hired as manager.

Giambi is still an active player who would retire if asked to manage, but club officials as far back as last year suggested his off-the-field path should involve coaching. The belief is he could be a highly successful hitting coach. He has counseled youth and collegiate players in Las Vegas, where he lives in the offseason, and has been a confidant to teammates of all types when it comes to formulating hitting approaches.

If not hired as manager, Giambi is expected to try to sign with a team as a free agent.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.