Rockies players know they must start winning to save Weiss
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Carlos Gonzalez believes some managers are successful even when they aren't good at the job.
The Colorado Rockies slugger is convinced the opposite is true for his boss, Walt Weiss.
''I wish we could have played better for him because he's a really good person and a great manager,'' Gonzalez said Monday. ''But so far his career as a manager has been difficult for him to win ballgames because, obviously, he didn't have the talent.''
Through three seasons dealing with bad pitching and numerous injuries, Weiss is 208-278. The former All-Star shortstop's .428 winning percentage is the worst of any Colorado manager.
Weiss is back, but in the final year of his contract. There have been no talks of an extension and he's uncertain if and when they'll occur.
''I don't know and I really don't care,'' Weiss said.
The 52-year-old has plenty of other concerns.
There are numerous pitching questions and a hole in the infield. Shortstop Troy Tulowitizki was traded to Toronto last summer. His replacement and the team's highest-paid player, Jose Reyes, is on paid leave while facing domestic violence charges.
''When you lose, that's what happens,'' third baseman Nolan Arenado said of the questions surrounding Weiss. ''If we give Walt a good team, I think we'd be talking about what a great coach he was. Now everyone is probably questioning how he coaches. But he's not a bad coach. He does a great job.''
Weiss, who spent four seasons of his 14-year big league playing career in Colorado, was a high school coach in suburban Denver when he was hired before the 2013 season.
The management that brought him in is gone. Jeff Bridich is the new GM, and Weiss' status isn't helped amid predictions the Rockies are headed for a sixth straight losing season.
''I've never worried about the terms of my contract,'' said Weiss, who worked without one his first year. ''I show up and go to work every day.''
Weiss is calm when he speaks, no matter the questioning. Infielder Daniel Descalso said that while there's little rah-rah in his manager, he brings ''quiet confidence to the field every day.''
He has plenty of fans in the clubhouse. Arenado said Weiss sometimes knows him better than he knows himself.
''I don't like to admit to him that I'm pressing, but deep down sometimes I am and he can see it already,'' Arenado said. ''He's good at reading guys. He'll give me a day off when I don't want one, but deep down it's probably the right thing to do.''
Weiss said it took him longer to figure out the off-field aspects than managing from the dugout.
''Staying out in front of a game, it took a little bit of time but not that much,'' Weiss said. ''It's leadership on a fairly large scale. A lot of people are counting on you.''
Weiss will spend the spring trying to improve a rotation that had baseball's highest ERA (5.27) a year ago. He doesn't know if and when Reyes will return. Gonzalez could be the next star to leave if they're out of contention again this summer.
''Things haven't gone his way,'' Gonzalez said. ''That's why I wish we can play a lot better for him because he definitely deserves it.''
NOTES: Arenado took issue with Tulowitzki describing the Rockies' plush spring complex as a ''country club'' where ''guys got comfortable'' in a USA Today story Monday. ''We work hard and we're trying to get better,'' Arenado said. ''I don't believe it's a country club here.'' . Weiss called Tulowitzki's comments ''the furtherest from the truth'' and said ''I have no issues with guys being soft.'' . Jon Gray and Tyler Matzek are scheduled to pitch in the exhibition opener Wednesday against Arizona.